Teacher shortage continues to grow in Wisconsin

Posted: 6:31 PM, Apr 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-29 09:04:40-04

Wisconsin is losing teachers at an alarming rate and on top of that fewer college students are trying to go into field. NBC26 breaks down what's happening across the state.   

A new study by the Public Policy Forum has found that compared to just six years ago in Wisconsin, about 30 percent fewer college students are attempting to become teachers. But not everyone is following the trend.

"I’m studying music education and I'll be certified to teach k-12," says Samuel Joseph a UWO Senior.

K-12 is actually one of the education fields that are trying to fill the teacher void the most.

"If you can find it and hunt for it there's always a position out there," adds Joseph.

But with the average new teacher only sticking around for 5 to 6 years the teacher shortage is only getting worse.

Across Wisconsin fewer students are preparing to go into the field of education and more and more teachers are getting out before retirement. That factoid really shows that retaining good educators is difficult but so is bringing new blood into the field.

"Part of it is the nature of teaching, part of it is salary, part of it is this increased emphasis on assessment," says Fred Yeo the Dean of College of Education and Human Services at UWO.

Yeo says pay scale, likely does play a big part in teachers not sticking around Wisconsin.

"Our new teachers are being paid 10-12 thousand dollars less a year than Minnesota or a little bit more than Illinois,” says Yeo.

"I've often thought about that. What do neighboring states have to offer," adds a contemplative Joseph who would like to remain in the Fox Cities as an educator.

And while pay might be just one factor of Wisconsin's problem holding onto educators. Ending on a positive note, the education job market is opening up.