Teacher Scarcity Puts Upper Darby High Students into Community College

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Upper Darby School District Superintendent Dan McGarry outside Upper Darby High School
Image via Alejandro A. Alvarez, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Upper Darby School District Superintendent Dan McGarry outside Upper Darby High School.

Upper Darby School District is combating teacher shortages in the new school year by taking the unusual step of paying for some high school students to attend classes at Delaware County Community College, writes Maddie Hanna for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Upper Darby is also capping the number of high school courses students can take from 32 to 28.

The district is short nine high school teachers as of the end of July.

“The problem is, we can’t even put them [students] in a study hall,” says Superintendent Dan McGarry. “We won’t have a substitute teacher or staff” to run it.

There are not enough new teachers coming into the system. At the same time people are leaving the teaching profession.

Upper Darby has averaged 11% teacher turnover each of the last three years. In the past, there were hundreds of teacher applicants to replace those who leave.

“Now, there aren’t people coming out qualified to do these jobs. I can’t impress this on people enough,” McGarry says.

Pennsylvania officials say the shortages have reached “crisis” levels, with only 6,000 new teachers certified in the state last year, down from about 20,000 a decade ago.

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer about efforts by Dan McGarry to combat Upper Darby’s teacher shortages.

Good Morning America takes a look at the national teacher shortage.

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