BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State education industry is facing a crisis. The New York State Teacher Retirement Program projects more than one third of teachers are currently eligible or will soon be eligible to retire. They estimate districts will need up to 180,000 teachers within the next decade.
"The teacher shortage is definitely not looming anymore. It is here. It is in a full blown crisis mode," Jolene DiBrango, the executive vice president of New York State United Teachers, said.
Teachers are concerned if more educators aren't brought into the system, this will effect students.
"The immediate impact will be not getting the best and brightest in the field that really want to get into it. Class sizes will be impacted, the expertise of those they'll have to hire, the transient nature of having substitute teachers as opposed to teachers who really plant their roots and do all those extra things that really make a good teacher a great teacher," Joe Cantafio, the president of the West Seneca Teachers Association, said.
New York State United Teachers has initiated the "Take a Look at Teaching" program to attract current high school students to the education field.
"We are working with identifying students through our own teachers that are willing to mentor them, and to stay connected with them regardless of the college they go to. If they go in for education, we want to stay connected with them. When they come back during their breaks we offer them opportunities to do observations, and to eventually substitute teach so they can also make a bit of money too," Cantafio said.
This is all done to attract and retain new teachers in New York State.
"There is a work force shortage everywhere. Education is no different. There will be jobs available. Those jobs will be good jobs. They will provide for secure incomes, retirement security, and a fulfilling life," DiBrango said.