YUMA, Ariz. – Arizona is top three worst in the nation for teachers, as shown in a study released by wallethub.com. Analysts considered salaries, retention, student to teacher ratio and public school spending. Based on these factors Ariona ranked 49 out of 51 states. Yuma Union High School District officials are not surprised.
“The salary is one of the number one indicators as far as people leaving our district last year,” said Scott Sheldon, Executive Director of Human Resources with YUSHD. Sheldon says 60% of teachers left because of low wages, putting a further strain on students as class sizes increase. Another contributing factor is less people are training to become educators. To combat the growing problem, local school officials suggest tapping into state schools.
“We’re trying to partner with some colleges to try to keep our talent here,” said Sheldon. The high turn around puts pressure on the school district as they continuously train teachers who leave, starting the process over again each time. This forces the district to rely on long-term substitute teachers.
But Sheldon says an advantage to teaching in a lesser competitive field is the opportunity to develop leadership with staff support.
The Arizona Department of Education released a report highlighting the state faces a crisis of teacher shortage, retention and recruiting. They also cited difficulty in finding teachers specifically for math, science, special education and kindergarten.