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In the States: Indiana Superintendents Struggle to Fill Positions with Qualified Candidates

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

In a recent survey of school superintendents across the state of Indiana, 95% of respondents say they are contending with a shortage of qualified candidates to fill vacant teaching positions. School district leadership identified the greatest shortage areas continue to be special education, science, math, English, foreign language, and elementary education. The survey was sent to all 291 traditional public school superintendents in Indiana, which resulted in 176 responses, or a 60.5% response rate.

Of the 95% of respondents indicating a shortage of qualified candidates for certified positions, 80% percent indicated shortages in special education; 60% had shortages in science and 58% reported shortages in math.

Additional results show the following:

  • Just over half of respondents, 55.1%, indicated the use of teachers outside their licensed areas to address the shortage. Of those using teachers outside their fields, nearly 22% had five or more teachers outside of their licensed areas.
  • 5% of respondents indicated they were using full-time substitutes for teaching positions, and of those, 22.6% used four or more full-time substitutes.
  • Nearly 91% of surveyed superintendents used emergency permits, and of those who did, nearly 33% of the school leaders said they needed at least six teacher emergency permitted staff to fill open vacancies

The survey’s accompanying report suggest that districts must focus on both recruitment and retention by way of creating incentives to work in the district, creating an environment that teachers will not want to leave, and opening new pipelines to the profession.

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