Panhandle Schools Prepare for the Worse

Texas high school classrooms are evolving faster each year.

"High school science is not what it used to be. What I am teaching now is what I learned the first 2-3 years in college, " said Dian Gerber, science teacher at Canyon High School.

Just as requirements for high school graduation demand more math and science courses, a new study found Texas schools are falling short with teachers in those subjects.

"Every high school in the state of Texas, due to the 4x4 requirements is needing to add math and science teachers to cover the additional courses," said Tim Gilliland, Canyon High School Principal.

Gilliland says our area has yet to suffer a shortage in teachers--and their hiring process is responsible.

"We've just been real fortunate at Canyon ISD to be able to attract some pretty good teachers and get them to come here and stay here," he said about their screening process.

In addition, the school is working to keep classroom sizes at or below 24 students. But this could soon change.

"As Canyon ISD is growing, we are feeling that pinch," Gerber said. "I don't think we will be in the bubble for very long."

The report from the University of Texas shows the shortage of teachers in math and science has jumped by 80 percent. And they project this number will continue to climb.

"Even though we are turning out teachers, they are being pulled away from us by industry because of the pay," Gerber added.

Researchers also found that schools are hiring less qualified teachers in order to fill the void. But this is not the case at one area school.

"All of our teachers are state certified and highly qualified. So our kids are in pretty good hands here," Gilliland said. "Some schools aren't as fortunate."

Gilliland adds that Canyon High School has not cut any programs or made any budget cuts to keep teachers.