One Illinois school district struggling to fill vacant positions has started hiring international candidates, reports CNN.
"We had to go international because our pool in the United States, it's actually very, very dry, and you cannot sit and wait for people to apply to positions online," Peoria Public School District Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat told the news outlet.
"So, we have 27 that are coming from the Philippines, two from the Dominican Republic, and one from Cameroon.
"It is a three- to five-year program, and it is a cultural exchange program. So, the teachers will also learn about America, and the kids will also learn about their country."
Southwest of Chicago, LaSalle Peru Township High School is slated to start Aug. 11 and has no applicants for an open position.
“We currently have a chemistry physics teaching position that we have zero applicants for right now," District Superintendent Steven Wrobleski told CNN. "I am really concerned about how we're going to be able to fill that position.
"Where are we going to find science and math teachers? There is angst over, 'Are we going to find people, quality people?'"
The online learning during COVID-19 has stressed the profession, he added.
"People don't go into education to teach on a computer," he said. "They want to be face to face.
"Six years ago, we'd have an English or a social studies position posted. Within five days, we'd have 75 to 100 applicants. And this past school year, for one of our math positions we had three applicants."
The situation might get worse, too. Nearly one in 4 teachers in a recent Rand Corp. survey said they might leave their job by the end of the 2020-21 school year. That figure was just one in six before the pandemic, according to the report.
"I'm worried though, and as I look at my own staff and see a population that is getting near retirement," Wrobleski added to CNN. "It's a challenge."
A Frontline Education poll of 1,200 U.S. school and district leaders, found two-thirds report a teacher shortage, including 75% of city school districts compared to 65% in rural areas and 60% in suburban districts.
Frontline helps K-12 schools recruit and train educators.
"We are utilizing at least eight different strategies simultaneously to really combat this national crisis," Desmoulin-Kherat told CNN.
"Our thinking is never let a crisis go to waste. We had to reimagine how we approached recruitment and retention because you can't just wait for individuals to apply for jobs."
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