Teacher Shortages

Nearly Half of Public Schools Have Open Teaching Positions

Forty-five percent of public schools in the United States had at least one teaching vacancy as of October 2022, with 27% reporting multiple vacancies, according to information released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The shortages disproportionately affect schools in areas of high poverty (57% versus 41% in more affluent areas) and in schools with a student body composed of 75% or more minority students (60% with at least once vacancy versus 32% of schools with 25% or less minority population).

The center reported that the average number of vacancies in public schools is two. Nationwide, 4% of all teaching positions are vacant.

"Public schools continue to have difficulty filling critical positions, with higher percentages of high-poverty schools and schools with high-minority student populations experiencing teaching vacancies than other schools," said NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr in a prepared statement. "But these data show that teacher vacancies are not the only challenge facing schools this academic year. The majority of schools have experienced problems acquiring necessities like food, electronics, and furniture because of supply-chain issues during this school year so far. These data provide insight into the challenges emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic that schools continue to experience."

Teaching positions with the highest vacancies included special education (7% nationwide), ESL/bilingual education (6%), and computer science (5%).

Other findings from the report included:

  • Non-teaching positions are also seeing high vacancies, with 6% of all non-teaching staff positions in public schools being vacant.

  • In total, 40% of schools reported at least one non-teaching staff vacancy, with 26% reporting multiple vacancies.

  • Vacancies in custodial positions and transportation jobs were equal, at 8% vacancies nationwide.

Further details can be found at ies.ed.gov/schoolsurvey.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .