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Help Wanted: Teachers in Some Iowa Schools

Iowa’s teacher shortage appears to be worsening and one expert says many schools across the state have multiple openings just weeks, or days, before the school year is set to begin. Mark McDermott, associate dean at the University of Iowa’s College of Education, says they routinely get calls from dozens of Iowa’s 300-plus school administrators as fall approaches, checking to see if there are any recent graduates available to fill teaching jobs.

While hesitating to say “most” schools in the state are short on teachers, McDermott says “many” districts are seeking help in virtually every type of course and grade level.

McDermott, a clinical professor of science education at the U-I, says he’s surprised by the degree to which teacher openings are appearing, and in all corners of the state.

McDermott says the Iowa City institution is working to help meet the teacher shortage and develop pipeline programs to recruit more future teachers, and in particular, to recruit and retain students of color.

McDermott says part of the shortage may still stem from the so-called Great Resignation that came about during the pandemic, as many workers retired early or simply left their positions and industries to seek something new.

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