In academic year 2003-04, about 59% of the public secondary schools in the United States reported vacancies in mathematics teaching positions, and of these nearly one-third said that they found it "very difficult to" or "could not" fill those vacancies.
Why is this indicator important?
The teaching workforce plays a critical role in preparing graduates for careers in an increasingly technological labor market.
Teacher vacancies in S&E ﬁelds may indicate that students will not receive adequate motivation and training to join the S&E workforce later on.
About 80% of public secondary schools reported teaching vacancies (i.e., teaching positions needing to be ﬁlled) in one or more ﬁelds in academic year 2003.
Among these schools, 74% had vacant positions in mathematics and 52-56% had vacant positions in biology/life sciences and physical sciences.
About one-third of public secondary schools with vacancies in mathematics or physical sciences reported great difﬁculty in ﬁnding teachers to ﬁll openings in these ﬁelds, whereas 22% of schools reported that this was the case in biology/life sciences.
Current research suggests that in recent years hiring difﬁculty was primarily caused by large numbers of teachers leaving the profession before regular retirement age (SEI 2008
Teacher shortages occurred more frequently in certain states where the population grew fast because of immigration and/or high rates of childbirth (e.g., CA, TX, and FL) (in certain ﬁelds, and in high-poverty areas) (SEI 2008