Teacher Shortage Update: Fairfax and Richmond

As students get ready to return to school later this month, Fairfax County classrooms are 97% staffed, incoming Superintendent Michelle C. Reid told parents in a July 28 letter to parents and staff. “We are working hard to continue to fill those remaining vacancies and to ensure that we will have a licensed educator in every classroom.”

The Fairfax Education Association said it believes the county has about 600 remaining vacancies, and that openings may be more common in low-income, Title I schools, reports WTOP News. With about 13,300 FTE teaching positions in Fairfax schools, that implies a vacancy rate of about 4.5%, not far off from Reid’s estimate.

The concentration of vacancies in Title I schools is revealing. It is consistent with widespread anecdotal and district-level evidence that the teachers who are resigning are burned out from working conditions in high-poverty schools.

Speaking of which… The City of Richmond schools are chipping away at its teaching vacancies, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. As of July 29, the system reported 163 teacher vacancies. The city is using significant financial incentives to recruit teachers to the unfilled positions. River City Middle School is facing the biggest void with 20 vacant teacher slots. System-wide, the city has reduced the shortfall among bus drivers from 19 positions mid-July to five now, but schools still are facing a shortage of 50 food service assistants.