Schools nationwide are facing teacher shortages, and though no official database keeps track, anecdotal and historical evidence suggests rural areas are harder hit.

"Why are America’s schools so short-staffed? Experts point to a confluence of factors including pandemic-induced teacher exhaustion, low pay and some educators’ sense that politicians and parents — and sometimes their own school board members — have little respect for their profession amid an escalating educational culture war that has seen many districts and states pass policies and laws restricting what teachers can say about U.S. history, race, racism, gender and sexual orientation, as well as LGBTQ issues," Hannah Natanson reports for The Washington Post.

The pandemic proved to be a tipping point for many teachers, a 2021 study shows: Nearly one in four teachers said they were likely to leave their job at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, up from one in six before the pandemic.

"The stopgap solutions for lack of staff run the gamut, from offering teachers better pay to increasing the pool of people who qualify as educators to bumping up class sizes," Natanson reports. "But many of these temporary fixes are likely to harm students by diminishing their ability to learn, predicted Dawn Etcheverry, president of the Nevada State Education Association."

In rural school districts, which have an even harder time hiring new teachers, "one idea is to stop recruiting people to move and just focus on getting them to stay," Neal Morton reports for The Hechinger Report, which covers education. "Many of the recently funded government efforts have been aimed at convincing people who grow up in these towns to stay and teach. It’s harder than it sounds, since rural areas tend to produce fewer people with the education levels necessary to become teachers. Those who do earn advanced degrees can be loath to return. And there’s little evidence to say how well 'grow your own' efforts work."

Read the full article about rural teacher shortages by Heather Chapman at The Rural Blog.