FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers are focusing on the state's teacher shortage.
Sister station WKYT reports the Interim Joint Committee on Education listened to testimony Wednesday as many superintendents spoke about their struggles.
The state is facing a shortage of teachers. During the summer about 2,000 vacancies were posted.
“Sad to report to you that too many of those vacancies are still open and school has started. And we know what happens there – students suffer,” said Dr. Jim Flynn, with the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.
Flynn says the amount of students going into education is dropping drastically, reporting that back in 2011 there were about 13,000 enrolled in education programs.
“In 2017, less than 5,000,” said Flynn.
A debate unfolded during the hearing over whether there is a so-called 'war' on public education.
However, everyone agreed they should be doing what they can to encourage young people to go into education.
“We’ve all together got to. Because words matter, we’ve all got to be positive about those professions,” said Rep. Steve Riley (R–Glasgow.)
“We are constantly telling our kids there is a war on education – why would they want to go into that battle,” asked Sen. Stephen Meredith (R-Leitchfield.)
The superintendents say some things that matter when trying to hire teachers include competitive salary, benefits, retirement, the resources to do their job well and opportunities to grow professionally.