Senate ‘Listening Tour’ Stops In Yakima, Hears Plenty About Teacher Shortage
A state Senate "listening tour' about education made a stop in Yakima on Tuesday, drawing hundreds of teachers, parents and students who came to voice their concerns about educational issues including teachers shortages.
Teachers in the Yakima School District are getting scarcer and scarcer, which concerns local teacher Vicki Dwight:
"We're losing a lot of our planning time because we're being asked to cover for other teachers when they're absent. The lack of substitute teachers is a real big issue this year," she said.
Educational Service District 105 Superintendent Steve Myers offered his take on the situation, too:
"Fewer young people are going into teaching, more people are retiring. Right now, we have loads ... Many, many long term substitutes that are not qualified in the subject."
Yakima public schools public relations director Kirsten Fitterer says a teacher shortage is only one problem -- but one that leads to many more.
"There is a legislative mandate to lower class sizes, but that does increase demand for teachers," she said.
All of which leaves teachers who are on the edge of retirement -- like Dwight -- in a rough spot.
"When the state has made some decisions that limit some of our retired teachers from substituting, that doesn't seem equitable," she said.