Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
October 26th, 2017 • News

October 26, 2017- Senator Keith Ingram audio report of news from the 91st General Assembly.

  • All across the country, school districts are facing a growing shortage of qualified teachers. It’s caused primarily by two factors. First of all, not enough college graduates are going into the field of teaching. The second factor is attrition. More teachers are leaving the profession before they reach retirement age, and burnout is one of the reasons they cite. This is especially problematic in isolated areas.
  • In rural communities, teachers are expected to perform multiple duties. Generally, their salaries are not as high as those in larger, urban areas. For the same reasons, recruiting and keeping principals is a greater problem in rural areas.
  • I recently completed a leadership class sponsored by the Council of State Governments, which is working on a variety of solutions to the problem. Let me be clear, in Arkansas we do not want to do what a few other states have done, which is to lower the standards for becoming a teacher. That’s a short-term fix with potentially catastrophic long-term effects.
  • One solution we’ve tried in Arkansas is to set up loan-forgiveness programs for college students who want to get into teaching. The incentives are designed to encourage young teachers to get certified in high-demand subjects, such as science, technology and foreign languages. Also, teachers who choose to work in the Delta and in other high priority areas may qualify for help paying off student loans. About 33,000 certified teachers work in Arkansas. Every year, Arkansas school districts must hire between 2,000 and 3,000 new teachers.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from October 26, 2017