Shortage of Math and Science Teachers Hit Local ISD's

Your child's classroom may be more packed over the next few years as a lack of math and science teachers has local school districts reaching out for candidates, and looking to alternative options.

Fewer teachers can be blamed on fewer students.

Daniel Coward, Assistant Superintendent with Amarillo ISD says,"It really begins with students going to the university level and pursuing teaching certificates in those areas. That's where our greatest concern is, what we are seeing is fewer students exiting the teacher preparation programs in the areas of math and science."

Changes in requirements mean a degree in the field doesn't necessarily mean you can teach any grade.

"They created two levels for math certificates, middle school and high school fundamentally is what they created. Science certification is even more limiting than math because at the high school science level you are not just certified in science you are certified to teach chemistry or biology or physics, where as with a math certificate you can teach any of the maths at the high school level." Coward says.

The high school level is being hit the hardest by the shortage. And while districts are taking pro-active steps to stay fully staffed. They are preparing for another option.

Ken Carriere with Executive Director of Human Resources with Canyon ISD, "Right now with the federal legislation and the no child left behind requirements, the option would be to increase the size of the classes. Instead of having 20 to 25 kids in a class, we may have to go to 30 or 35 kids in a class because we are required to have highly qualified and certified teachers in every classroom."

Both districts say they are actively working to avoid this.

Some say 200 thousand teachers will be needed in these fields over the next ten years.