Alabama needs more teachers; state aims to solve the problem

State department of education addresses Alabama teacher shortage

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama schools are struggling to find teachers; specifically in math, science and special education.

An Alabama Teacher Shortage Task Force shared reasons for the shortage at the state board of education work session Thursday.

“You need kids to be successful in school and they’re not going to be successful in school if you don’t have teachers," said Roanoke City Schools Superintended and Chairman of the task force Chuck Marcum.

Several members on the task force said people considering a job as a teacher do not like their retirement benefit packages. Marcum said the Tier II package would require some teachers to work around 40 years.

“Meaning that teachers are going to have to work until they are 62 years old. And many of them say, ‘I don’t want to do this,’" he said.

Last year there was a push to create a Tier III retirement package, but the state legislature did not pass it. There may be another push next legislative session.

The task force said 8 percent of teachers in Alabama leave the field every year. Only one-third of that leaves because of retirement.

"We're going to have a big turnover," Marcum said during the meeting. "It's going to be very scary."

Other members said not enough teachers are being recruited in the first place.

“It is important for individuals to know that it is a very rewarding profession,” said Talladega County Schools Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Lacey.

The task force is expected to release a list of recommendations in September on how to solve the problem.

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