Skip Navigation

Too Few Candidates Applying for Teaching Jobs the Primary Hiring Challenge for More than Two-Thirds of Public Schools Entering the 2022-23 School Year
September 27, 2022

72 percent of K–12 public schools also provide digital literacy training to students

WASHINGTON (September 27, 2022)—Sixty-nine percent of K–12 public schools reported their primary challenge for filling 2022–23 school year teaching vacancies was too few candidates applying for open positions, according to data released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the statistical center of the U.S. Department of Education. Sixty-three percent of public schools also reported too few candidates applying for non-teaching staff vacancies.

"The majority of public schools are starting the new school year feeling understaffed, particularly in areas like special education, transportation, and mental health," said NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr. "And while many schools say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more challenging to fill positions, 20 percent of schools say that they were already understaffed before the pandemic began. These data points are critical for understanding challenges our public schools are facing, allowing policymakers to provide timely assistance to help our students and educators in areas where it is needed."

As of August, public schools across the country reported that special education and mathematics teaching positions were among the most difficult teaching positions to fill for the 2022–23 school year. Seventy-eight and 75 percent of schools offering these positions reported it was either "very" or "somewhat difficult," respectively, to hire fully certified teachers in these areas.

Schools have continued to provide various forms of technology to students. Entering the 2022–23 school year, nearly half (45 percent) of public schools reported providing internet access to students who need it at their homes. Fifty-six percent of public schools reported providing internet access to students who need it at a location other than their home, such as in a library or parking lot. Roughly three-quarters of public schools (72 percent) reported that they provide training on digital literacy for their students, and 25 percent provide digital literacy training to their studentsí families. For schools that provide digital literacy training to their students, 68 percent reported providing additional training to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 plans and 62 percent reported providing additional training to English learners, beyond the training offered to all students.

"These data released today on schools offering additional digital literacy training to English learners and students with IEPs and 504 plans suggest schools are aware of digital disparities and are working to reduce them," said NCES Associate Commissioner Chris Chapman. "We are appreciative to the schools that participated in the School Pulse Panel and have shared their experiences responding to the pandemic."

The data released today are from the School Pulse Panel. The School Pulse Panel is part of NCESís innovative approach to delivering timely information regarding the pandemicís impact on public K–12 schools in the U.S. on topics such as community partnerships, after-school programs, hiring processes, learning mode offerings, and quarantine prevalence, as reported by school staff in U.S. public schools.

The findings released today are part of the eighth monthly experimental data product from the School Pulse Panel. The August data were collected from 900 participating schools between August 9 and August 23, 2022.

Experimental data products are innovative statistical products created using new data sources or methodologies. Experimental data may not meet all NCES quality standards but are of sufficient benefit to data users in the absence of other relevant products to justify release. NCES clearly identifies experimental data products upon their release.

The data released today can be found on the School Pulse Panel dashboard at https://ies.ed.gov/schoolsurvey/.

Key Findings

Staffing for 2022–23 School Year

  • Fifty-three percent of public schools report feeling that they are understaffed entering the 2022–23 school year.
    • For public schools that report feeling understaffed, 65 percent of schools that offer special education positions report feeling understaffed in special education and 43 percent of schools that offer general elementary positions feel understaffed in this area. For non-teaching staff areas, 59 percent report feeling understaffed for transportation, 50 percent for custodial staff, and 49 percent for mental health professionals.
    • Schools that feel understaffed report an inability to fill vacant teaching positions (48 percent) and non-teaching staff positions (60 percent) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as the most prevalent reason for feeling understaffed. One in five schools (20 percent) report they were already understaffed prior to the pandemic.
  • For public schools, the most difficult teaching positions to fill for the 2022–23 school year were special education and mathematics, with 78 and 75 percent of schools offering these positions reporting it was either "very" or "somewhat difficult" to hire fully certified teachers in these areas, respectively.
  • For public schools, the most difficult non-teaching staff positions to fill were transportation staff and custodial staff, with 94 and 84 percent of schools offering these positions reporting it was either "very" or "somewhat difficult" to hire staff in these areas, respectively.

Technology and Digital Literacy

  • Entering the 2022–23 school year, nearly half of public schools report providing internet access to the students who need it at their homes (45 percent). Fifty-six percent of public schools report providing internet access to the students who need it at a location other than their home, such as in a library or parking lot.
  • Ninety-four percent of public schools report providing digital devices, such as laptops or tablets, to students who need them for the 2022–23 school year.

Community Partnerships

  • Forty-five percent of public schools utilize a "community school" or "wraparound services" model, in which a school partners with other government agencies and/or local nonprofits to support and engage with the local community (e.g., providing mental and physical health care, nutrition, housing assistance, etc.).
  • For schools that utilize these models, the most prevalent services offered are mental health care (85 percent), nutrition/food assistance (60 percent), dental care (42 percent), social work (41 percent), and parenting and family support (41 percent).

###

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, is the statistical center of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES, located within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally. Follow NCES on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube and subscribe to the NCES News Flash to receive email notifications when new data are released.

IES is the independent and nonpartisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Its mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

CONTACT:
Josh Delarosa, National Center for Education Statistics, Aris.nces@ed.gov
James Elias, Hager Sharp, jelias@hagersharp.com