Alabama teacher shortage task force works to find solutions

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FLORENCE, Ala. - Parts of the state have reached critical staffing levels when it comes to teaching our kids.

A task force for the teacher shortage just released more than thirty recommendations for ways to attract more educators.

A top educator in the state explained to WHNT News 19  just how bad the situation is.

It is not too often the State Superintendent of Education gets an up-close and personal tour of an entire school system.

"One of the most important things I feel like I can do is get into schools and meet teachers, students, and administrators and see what is really going on," said State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey.

One of the issues Superintendent Eric Mackey is seeing is a shortage of teachers.

In areas across the state, systems are having trouble attracting or even keeping teachers, which leads to overcrowded classrooms.

"When people come into teaching we lose a large number of them, about 20-percent, within a few years. And we want people who do all of the work and become teachers to stay in the field," said Superintendent Mackey.

The Alabama teacher shortage task force is comprised of 18 superintendents across the state. Their mission is to figure out solutions to the growing problem.

"It all boils down to two pots; one we have to attract more young people, 17, 18, 19 years old to want to become teachers. And two, we have to keep the teachers we have," said Superintendent Mackey.

Some of the recommendations include increasing salaries, scholarships to encourage students to choose education, and incentives for teaching in high-need areas.

The State Board of Education plans to dive deeper into the recommendations during a meeting in November.

The Alabama teacher shortage task force recommendations also include creating an alternative teacher certification that could attract mid-career or secondary career people to education.

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