Missouri faces teacher shortage

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JEFFERSON CITY - Some counties in Missouri don't have enough teachers specializing in certain subject areas.

Special education, foreign languages and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses are facing the largest teacher shortages, said Sarah Potter, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education communications coordinator.

In Boone County the following school districts are facing shortages in business education, technology and English, speech/theater, family and consumer science, social science, math and general science. 

  • Southern Boone County R-I
  • Sturgeon R-V
  • Centralia R-VI
  • Harrisburg R-VIII
  • Columbia 93

In Cole County, the following school districts are facing shortages in family and consume science, general science, math, social sciences, social studies and speech theater.

  • Cole County R-I
  • Blair Oaks R-II
  • Cole County R-V
  • Jefferson City

In Callaway County, the following school districts are facing shortages in agricultural education, general sciences, social science, and social studies. 

  • North Callaway County R-I
  • Fulton 58
  • South Callaway County T-II
  • Missouri School for the Deaf

A shortage is defined as "a student having 20% (1 in 5) chance or higher being taught by an unqualified teacher in a given content area," according to DESE. 

This means teachers who are qualified to teach one subject might be teaching a subject they are not certified for.

DESE is increasing teacher recruitment and trying to better prepare future teachers in the state.

"It's rural areas and high poverty urban areas where they're really having trouble finding the teachers that they need." Potter said. 

She said DESE is working to increase teacher recruitment throughout the state, as well as working with local colleges to improve teacher education.