Minnesota’s teacher shortage: real, complicated

Solvejg Wastvedt:

It’s always been a challenge convincing young teachers to put down roots in remote northwestern Minnesota. But these days it’s an especially hard sell.

The northland schools have struggled like never before to fill open jobs the past few years, said Bob Jaszczak, superintendent of the Kittson Central district. “I’d be talking to area superintendents,” he said, “and they’d be saying, ‘Oh my God, I cannot find a ‘blank’ teacher.'”

Jaszczak’s kept a file on every teacher job opening the past three years in the region’s schools, how many people applied and how many of those who applied were actually qualified for the job. The numbers are bleak. Places like Hallock — a town of fewer than 1,000 within walking distance to the Canadian border — aren’t the first choice of most teachers looking for work.