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Arizona Education Official: Low Pay To Blame For Teacher Shortage

Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 1:53pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 2:43pm

As the school year approaches and with over a thousand teacher vacancies in the Phoenix metro alone, Arizona officials say the educator shortage has reached crisis levels around the state.

Dr. Cecilia Johnson, who recruits teachers for the Arizona Department of Education, said salaries are to blame for losing thousands of educators.

“Our teachers are not even getting a cost of living raise over the past 7 years, so that’s a huge frustration," said Johnson. "And so teachers are leaving education because they can’t sustain their lifestyle and support their families on teacher salaries.”

Johnson, who also chairs the Department of Education’s retention and recruitment taskforce, said the state has little say over salaries since local control means teacher pay varies by district.

But she said they are working on streamlining certification requirements to make the process easier to attract more qualified teachers.

MORE: How Bad Is Arizona's Teacher Shortage?