Ky. lawmakers told state’s teacher shortage needs immediate attention

Dr. Jim Flynn, the director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, told the committee members that the issue needs immediate attention.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky needs to think of innovative ways to get more teachers into the profession. That’s was what education leaders told lawmakers in an interim committee Tuesday.

Dr. Jim Flynn, the director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, told the committee members that the issue needs immediate attention.

This comes as superintendents are dealing with shortages, even as the school year has already started.

Dr. Flynn told Kentucky lawmakers more needs to be done to get teachers interested in the profession. In talking to superintendents at the start of the school year, he said about half still had certified vacancies.

He says Tennessee is using an innovative “grow your own” program. It uses a paid apprenticeship program to start training and, even paying teachers, while they’re still students.

“They have seen some really good results of that at tracking people to the profession,” said Dr. Flynn. “They have opportunities to learn and earn if you will, as they are preparing to be a classroom teacher.”

It’s a learn-and-earn program game changer in student-teaching. It’s an option Kentucky lawmakers could explore to help solve the shortage.

Flynn says Kentucky’s teacher shortage problem was only made worse during the pandemic and it has not improved since then.

In Tennessee’s apprenticeship program, trainees would receive pay increases as they gain higher skill levels. They would also receive national certification.