Teacher Shortages Continue to Affect Educational Institutions

In recent years, many school districts around the country have been suffering the fallout of teacher shortages. Many different factors are playing a role in this rising concern, including lack of funds and resources as well as fair teacher pay.

As a result of these teacher shortages becoming more of an issue, there are now concerns over related liabilities. Not only are some districts scrambling to keep teachers in the classroom, but they are having to combat claims from parents and the community about the negative results of lacking the proper level of educators.

The Washington Post reported that in some school districts in places like Arizona and California, parents are having to step in as teachers. A move like this has residual effects as parents are having to move their schedules around. According to a 2016 report, teacher education enrollment dipped from 691,000 to 451,000 between 2009 and 2014. What’s more, as it’s grown increasingly hard to hire younger educators out of college, seasoned teachers are retiring and not being replaced.

California is a state that has been taking a much harder hit compared to recent years. In 1990, the state only had teaching shortages in the subjects of bilingual education, life science and physical science. Fast forward to 2016 and California saw shortages in English, drama, humanities, history, social science, math, computer education, physical education, health, dance, science, special education and self-contained class; essentially every subject is seeing a fleeing educating body.

The Effects

As mentioned above, school systems are now in a more fragile position when it comes to the legal fallout of a teacher shortage. With a general shortage of labor in the past, companies would be tempted to relax hiring requirements in order to have an adequate number of staff on board. If school districts follow the same avenue they could be seeing more risk in hiring unqualified teachers.

Everything from skill requirements to testing policies could see more slack and with less qualifications comes more mistakes. While hiring a crop of new teachers with less training may plug a hole for the short term, lack of proper training and experience could lead to greater liability exposure for districts.

Think of teachers who lack the proper training around communicating with students, such as appropriate language and knowing what’s too personal. Or parents who expect a certain level of knowledge and leadership conveyed in their child’s classroom and an untrained teacher not meeting those levels.

School districts and educators should know of these liabilities and the increasing risk of the current teacher shortage. With proper coverage, such as educators liability insurance, like from Professional Governmental Underwriters, Inc., current school boards, educators and administrators can gain peace of mind with its wide-ranging protection, from management liability to employment practices liability (the most common cause of educators liability claims).

Be sure to express the severity of the rising risks at hand to education clients and stress the importance of a proactive insurance package.

About PGUI

Professional Governmental Underwriters, Inc., is a full-service risk management company dedicated to assisting public, educational and non-profit entities in the management of their professional liability exposures. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art professional underwriting management and loss control advisory services on behalf of our designated carriers. For more information, call us toll-free at (800) 586-6502.