State rep. files bill to address Ky. teacher shortage
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers are working to address Kentucky’s teacher shortage. It has been one of the top priorities of this session, and legislation filed on Wednesday could be relief needed.
Republican Representative James Tipton filed house bill 319 on Wednesday. It would allow licensed educators from other states to move to Kentucky and be granted an equivalent license.
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Across Kentucky, teachers are working daily to educate students, but right now, there aren’t enough educators as nearly 2,000 positions statewide remain vacant.
“Just the amount of people that have left the profession completely, and even in the middle of the year, has been really disheartening,” said Jenny Urie of Kentucky 120 United.
Education groups and advocates have been rallying together to draw attention to what they say is snowballing into larger issues and larger class sizes.
“It just becomes challenging because you’re not able to give students the attention that they need,” Urie said. “The one on one.”
Urie is a teacher in Owen County, and she says she sees firsthand the strains the shortages are having on teachers and schools.
“We are so short in our buildings. We don’t get our planning time. We have to cover other classes. Last week, I had to cover classes three out of five days,” Urie said.
House Bill 319 would adopt the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which would allow educators who hold a license in any eligible state to be granted an equivalent license in Kentucky.
Urie is thankful to see some action but isn’t sure this is the fix; adding additional funding and raises are still needed.
“We’re trying to get people to switch careers and come teach,” Urie said. “If we’re going to get people to switch careers and come teach, we have got to make it financially attainable.”
Tipton says the bill does expand the Teacher Scholarship Program and eliminates the cap on awards. He says, this session, lawmakers are committed to improving programs to recruit teachers.
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