According to a task force with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), the number of potential teachers in the state has decreased significantly over the past few years.
In a report presented to the State Board of Education, members of the task force said that the number of teaching degrees completed in the state has dropped 16 percent since 2014. Additionally, the number of students declaring an education major dropped by 31 percent for both private and public colleges.
The task force was made up of members of the KASB board from across the state. Rudy Perez, the principal of Norton High School, served as co-chair of the task force. He said that training and keeping teachers in Kansas is difficult given the low salaries, criticism of the profession and the instability of education funding.
The group recommended continued study of the shortage and encouraging increased involvement by local leaders in order to develop incentives to recruit and retain teachers.
Of the nearly 2,800 teachers who left the profession last year, the group found 1,123 were due to retirement, while 500 provided no reason.
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