Schools opened in Baltimore City Monday and district officials were still hiring teachers. It’s the same in Baltimore County, where classes start Wednesday.
City school officials have made some progress in filling teaching positions over the past couple of weeks, but they still have a ways to go. Earlier this month, there were more than 200 vacancies. District spokesperson Edie House said Monday they had 140 teaching positions still open. That compares to about 90 when schools opened last year and just over 80 two years ago.
In Baltimore County, school officials held a job fair at the beginning of August to fill their 32 vacant teaching slots. Some of those positions are still open at the secondary level.
Most of the vacancies in the city also are at the secondary level. The openings are in what are considered critical subject areas—math, science and special education—that have frequent shortages. According to state education officials, most school districts statewide struggle to fill those subject areas with certified teachers.
A report issued last year by the Calvert Institute for Policy Research put some of the blame for local and statewide teacher shortages on Maryland’s teacher certification policies. It described the state’s process as “burdensome” and criticized state officials for not fully embracing alternative certification methods, as some other states have done, to prevent teacher shortages.
Locally, school districts will use substitute teachers to fill vacancies until permanent teachers are hired.