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Arizona has had a teacher shortage for years. But some policies have been successfully curbing it

Arizona continues to face a teacher shortage. The latest report from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association from earlier this year shows 31% of teacher vacancies around the state are still unfilled, while nearly half of the vacancies are filled by teachers who don’t meet the state’s certification requirements.

At the same time, Arizona has been trying to get more teachers into the classroom. Last summer, the Arizona Teachers Academy announced 22% year-over-year enrollment growth. The program pays prospective teachers’ tuition at public universities in exchange for their teaching for a year in an Arizona public school for each year they got the scholarship.

This is not a new problem in Arizona nor is this the only state dealing with it. 

Desiree Carver-Thomas, research and policy analyst at the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute. The Show spoke with Carver-Thomas to learn about what works and what doesn’t work, in terms of teacher recruitment and retention.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.