Idaho Teacher Shortage Isn’t Unique (Opinion)
My sister is a rural schoolteacher.
Being a teacher at a small school gives you a lot of status around town
It isn’t the days of the one room school with coal stoves and inkwells, but the number of students K12 is roughly four hundred. I sent a link to her with news about the teacher shortage in Idaho. She wrote back and explained it’s the case across rural America. She hasn’t had a student teacher in her classroom in over a decade.
Some of the historic blame in Idaho was low pay. More of it today may be related to location. When I was a boy growing up, many of our teachers were from large cities and they craved the charm of the small town lifestyle. Being a teacher at a small school gives you a lot of status around town. I believe young people in our current time prefer the urban lifestyle. It offers them more weekend entertainment choices and we aren’t just talking about teachers.
Talented people have been leaving rural America in ever growing numbers for 75 years. Don’t forget that many of the teachers in the old one-room schoolhouses had little more than a year or two of higher education. They left what were called normal schools and then taught generations who went on to build the wealthiest society the world have ever witnessed. .