CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered a staggering shortage of teachers.
While this school year is just ending, what we found led us to investigate who’s going to teach your kids next year.
In Cleveland, we found hundreds of teaching jobs unfilled. In Akron, we found several dozen.
But, this problem could affect you no matter where you live.
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District said it has 254 openings for teachers. Plus, at least 63 more teachers have said they’re retiring and hundreds more are eligible to retire.
This led the I-Team to ask administrators for Cleveland Schools to explain what this will mean for classes offered and for class sizes. We wondered what’s being done to try to hire teachers to fill those open jobs.
We also took those same questions to the Cleveland Teachers Union.
We asked Union President Shari Obrenski what the impact could be. Larger class sizes? Certain classes not offered?
“It could be all of the above. The district will definitely have to work to ensure that staff are placed around the district where they are most needed,” she said.
The Cleveland Municipal School District told us it is aggressively recruiting teachers, holding career fairs and also doing interviews every day. In fact, the district says it’s already hiring.
But, again, the teacher shortage is not only in Cleveland.
“This is definitely a nationwide problem. You can talk to almost any district across the country,” Obrenski said.
Akron Public Schools currently has 83 openings for teachers and more than 50 others are retiring. Akron Public Schools is also aggressively recruiting teachers.
Back in Cleveland, Marquetta Baker is a parent of an student on the east side going into the 6th grade. Baker worries about the impact of the teacher shortage.
“The classrooms are already overcrowded in which, now, it’ll be a more hostile, overcrowded (place) for her going into the next school year,” Baker said. “Yeah, I’m concerned. Fix it.”
Cleveland Schools also say the district added new classes for arts, music and physical education, leading to some openings. But, again, the overall number is in the hundreds.
The union president believes the district can fill many of the jobs, but it will get increasingly harder to do because fewer people are going into the teaching profession.