UND Education Dean: School districts across North Dakota and U.S reaching out, seeking teachers

Courtesy: University of North Dakota
Courtesy: University of North Dakota

(Grand Forks, ND) --  Two education experts joined WDAY's Bonnie and Friends to talk about the shortages in educators across North Dakota and the U.S.

The University of North Dakota's (UND) College of Education says districts across the region, state, and country have reached out to the them. Cindy Juntunen, UND's Dean of Education, says the demand is especially high in elementary schools and special education.

"We get calls pretty regularly from school districts throughout the state, but also in other parts of the country, "said Juntunen, "[They are] seeking graduates, hoping we can reach out to our student teachers and our seniors because of shortages in the area."

Ashley Smalley, the Director of the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Retention, says teachers aren't necessarily being taken from rural areas or local districts, but are finding "other opportunities".

"Could be that [the opportunities] are paying better, or it could be that is makes more sense, especially in our rural areas, [to find] things like daycare. "said Smalley, "Our student teachers, finding places to live while they are out there student teaching in those rural areas, is becoming a large problem."

Smalley and Juntunen say North Dakota is facing many challenges when it comes to teacher retention. Juntunen says most student teachers are not receiving pay for their work, despite doing full-time work within classrooms across the state. In addition, Smalley says the benefits are limited in most districts, saying they often are pricey for the educators. 

Original Air Date: 
Tuesday, October 4, 2022