Describe the extent to which the State is facing shortages of educators, education administration personnel, and other school personnel involved in safely reopening schools, and the extent to which they vary by region/type of school district and/or groups of educators (e.g., special educators and related services personnel and paraprofessionals; bilingual or English as a second language educators; STEM educators; CTE educators; early childhood educators). Cite specific data on shortages and needs where available.
Taken together, the number of educators requesting emergency permits, the number of educators already certified who are at least 55 years old, those who have been educators for 30 or more years, and the number of newly certified educators all signal the health of the educator workforce in each school district and charter school.
Emergency Permits: During the 2019-20 school year, PDE issued 18,208 emergency permits. With the exception of Sullivan County, at least one educator in every single school district in the remaining 66 counties across the commonwealth applied for an emergency permit to allow them to continue working. Almost a third of the educators who applied for emergency permits are in three geographic areas: School District of Philadelphia (SDP), with 3,298 educators (18 percent), followed by 1,427 educators in the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (8 percent), and 689 educators in the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 (4 percent).
Educators Ages 55+: As of the 2019-20 school year, over 24,000 educators are at least 55 years old, representing 16 percent of the total educator workforce who are approaching, at, or past retirement age. Of these educators, there are 13,719 ages 55 to 59 (57 percent); 7,914 educators ages 60 to 64 (33 percent); 2,215 educators ages 65 to 69 (9 percent); and 353 educators who are between 70 and 87 years old (1 percent).
Educators with 30+ Years of Service: As of the 2019-20 school year, about 7,965 educators have at least 30 years of service. Among them, 1,587 (20 percent) have served 30 years; 6,037 (76 percent) have served between 31 and 40 years; 327 (4 percent) have served between 41 and 50 years; and 14 (0.2 percent) have served between 51 and 59 years.
Newly Certified Educators: PDE issued 5,683 new certifications during the 2019-20 school year. About 80 percent, or 4,593 were issued to classroom teachers; another 11 percent, or 642, were for support staff involved in coordination of services; 6 percent, or 348, were in the other student support services staff category; and 3 percent, or 165, were for administrative/supervisory roles.
While a small proportion of newly certified educators are ages 55 and older, overall, the number of educators with emergency permits, those who are both 55 and older and have at least 30 years of service, and the number of newly certified educators points to a startling scenario that is not unique to Pennsylvania. In short, the commonwealth's significant demand for educators largely outweighs its supply.
Using SDP for illustrative purposes, among the 284 educators certified to teach kindergarten for the 2019–20 school year, almost a third are at least 55 years old or above, have served in these roles for at least 30 years, or a combination thereof. On the other hand, only 4 percent were newly certified to teach kindergarten.
A similar pattern emerges when examining the 17,993 educators certified to teach Grades 1-3 in SDP. About a quarter of these educators are either at least 55 years old or above, have served in these roles for at least 30 years, or are a combination thereof, while only 3 percent are newly certified in this subject area.
Pennsylvania's data on teacher shortage areas and needs comes from PIMS and the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). While PIMS is used to collect and report state- and federally mandated data, TIMS is the data system that PDE uses to process educator certification applications. Educators who received a new certificate during the most recent school year for which data are available are represented as "new members" of the educator workforce in Table F1.
In the table, data on existing and new certificate holders do not add up to 100 percent because they exclude educators who fall somewhere between those who were newly certified during the most recent school year for which data are available as well as those who are 55 years of age or younger and/or have less than 30 years of service. Data on emergency permits are based on the total number of permits that PDE issued in the most recent school year available. LEAs request emergency certificates for a variety of reasons, some of which take into account anticipated openings or an inability to fill a vacant position with a certified individual. While LEAs may not end up employing all individuals with emergency permits, the number of permits issued serves as an indicator of critical staffing needs.