Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Shortages in the Northeast

There's a difference between having a teacher shortage and having teacher shortages. A teacher shortage is widespread; there just don't seem to be enough teachers to go around. Teacher shortages, on the other hand, make it difficult to fill teaching positions in particular subject areas and particular geographic areas or schools. The Northeast does not, for the most part, have widespread teacher shortage. States in the region, though, have their share of shortage areas. In some states, the list of shortage areas is lengthy. In some, there is concern about true teacher shortage, as enrollment in teacher preparation programs has been on the decline nationwide for some time.

The following is a look at teacher shortages in New England and the Mid Atlantic. It includes data up to the 2017-2018 school year and in some cases, the 2018-2019 school year.

Teacher Shortage in Maryland

Maryland maintains detailed information about its teaching workforce, publishing a report every two years. In the 2016-2018 report, which includes data compiled in late 2016, a majority of teaching areas are noted as shortage or critical shortage. Elementary education, which had been off the list, had become a mild shortage area. Early childhood education was also an area of shortage. Some PK-12 arts fields were listed as shortage, others as critical shortage. All five science disciplines were noted as critical shortage, as were a number of other teaching fields, including ESOL, English, and most special education classifications.

All local school districts were designated as areas of geographic shortages. The designation didn't necessarily indicate that each had a lot of areas of critical shortage. Each, though, did have areas of critical shortage and had for an extended time period.

Methodologies for identifying shortage are described in the report. The report may capture finer nuances than many states are able to – the milder shortages may not be unique to Maryland. The National Council on Teacher Quality refers to Maryland’s data keeping as a model for other states (

The following shortage areas appeared on the list given to the federal government during each reporting period between 2013-2014 and 2017-2018: math, Spanish, family and consumer sciences, ESOL, four science disciplines (chemistry, physics, earth/ space science, and physical science), secondary level special education, and teaching the hearing impaired.

Teacher Shortage in Connecticut

Connecticut identifies ten shortage areas each year. Teaching in one of these shortage areas can determine eligibility for the Teachers Mortgage Program ( as well as some federal programs. The list can include administrative positions and other positions that are not, strictly speaking, classroom teaching. The following teaching subjects have been on the list consistently between 2014-2015 and 2018-2019: math, science, technology education, special education, and bilingual education.

A teacher may also be eligible for programs based on where he or she teaches. Those clicking on the Teachers Mortgage Program will find a long list of priority and transitional districts (

Teacher Shortage in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts list between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018 has included English/ language arts, ESL, math, and reading, along with science disciplines, foreign languages, and special education classifications. All five science disciplines have been noted. The foreign language list has varied only slightly from year to year.

Teacher Shortage in New Hampshire

A number of teaching areas have consistently appeared on the New Hampshire list. The ones that show up each year from 2014-2015 through 2017-2018 tend to be ones that are recognized on a wide scale: world languages, sciences, mathematics, technology, special education. Family and consumer science is another regular.

There are multiple types of science endorsement, and the shortages here are pervasive; middle school has been noted each time, along with various secondary endorsements. Special education teachers are needed for a range of ages and needs. Early childhood special education is noted each time.

Teacher Shortage in New York

New York shortage lists in recent years have included well-known shortage areas such as special education. The Rockefeller Center, though, has raised concerns about a very different pattern that could emerge in the future. Special education program completion, along with elementary education program completion, is growing relative to total program completion. Secondary subject areas are another matter. Thus there is potential for shortage in core secondary content areas down the line.

Bilingual education, special education, and career and technical education have been statewide shortage areas each time since 2014-2015. The shortage lists are considerably longer for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 than for the previous two years. A number of shortages are designated specifically as being New York City. Here the list has included math, science, English, art, music, and dance, reading and literacy, and languages other than English.

The US Department of Education has cautioned that the shortage list is not to be construed as a hiring list. Perennial high needs areas, though, are listed on the Teach NYC website. Included are Pre-K, STEM, bilingual and ESL, and special education.

The Teach NYC site also notes incentives, some of which are specifically for those working in shortage areas (

Teacher Shortage in Pennsylvania

During some recent years, Pennsylvania declared no significant shortages. During others, there were a number of areas noted. The following disciplines were noted in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018: ESL, foreign language, mathematics, hearing impaired, and vocational. Science disciplines were noted in 2016-2017; in 2017-2018, the notation was simply “science”.

The state also declared a number of school districts, intermediate units, and schools as experiencing shortage.

Pennsylvania recently made significant expenditures toward putting structures in place that will aid with teacher retention.