The American Educator Panels
Jul 3, 2018
In this report, principals in public schools point to a lack of substitute teachers and qualified applicants as barriers to sufficient classroom staffing coverage during the 2022 omicron variant spike. Hiring struggles reportedly worsened for most principals year over year, driven by a lack of qualified applicants. When hiring, principals said they valued teachers whose mindsets aligned to their school culture over other qualifications.
Findings from the 2022 Learn Together Survey
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In this report, a nationally representative sample of kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12) public school principals were asked about their experiences with covering classrooms and hiring staff. In the spring of the 2021–2022 school year, which coincided with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) omicron variant surge, most principals struggled to keep classrooms consistently staffed and many reported that hiring had become more challenging since the previous school year. Principals indicated that a lack of substitute teachers — not an increase in open teaching positions — was the main reason for classroom coverage shortages.
In addition to day-to-day coverage issues, most principals reported that teacher vacancies were on the rise. Most of these principals believed that vacancies had grown more difficult to fill than in the prior school year, largely because of declining applicant counts. Principals' preferences when hiring teachers lend further insight into potential drivers of hiring challenges. A large majority of principals expressed strong preferences for like-minded teachers whose mindsets aligned with the vision and culture of the schools. Few principals prioritized the diversity of the educator workforce at their schools.
This report is based on research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
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