More than 2K teachers needed in Arizona

Posted at 7:55 PM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 15:34:47-05
The numbers aren't good. There are more than 2,100 open teaching positions across Arizona, and schools all across the state are hurting for good teachers. 
Justin Wing is with the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, and they did a survey last year that revealed things aren't getting any better.
They said Arizona's teacher shortage is a crisis, and the condition has worsened.  
This year, they discovered 421 teachers quit their jobs just a few weeks into the school year. They also said 53% of teaching positions will remain vacant or will be filled by people who do not meet the standard teaching requirements.
The Kyrene School District in Tempe tries to be proactive when it comes to keeping teachers around.  
The district said it has started pulling teachers out of retirement to try to fill empty spots while also pulling in student teachers.  
However, Arizona's low pay isn't drawing in strong teachers from out of state, and it doesn't help that fewer college students are going into the profession. 
The hardest positions to fill are teachers for math and science. 
Superintendent Diane Douglas released a statement regarding this topic to ABC15 which read in part: 
"The results from the ASPAA survey are unfortunately another indicator of the challenges we face regarding the teacher shortage in Arizona...I heard time and again that teacher pay is one of the primary factors contributing to our state's struggle to attract and retain outstanding teachers. This is why I called for $140 million in my 2017 AZ Kids Can't Wait! plan to provide all classroom teachers with a five percent salary increase. In order to improve teacher retention and attract new talent to the profession, I also am working with my team at the department to streamline the educator credentialing and certification process."