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State struggles to keep teachers, but some programs are working to buck the trend | Hawaii Tribune-Herald


When Kaleo Perry graduated last spring from the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Kahuawaiola teacher education program, employment prospects looked pretty good.

Source: State struggles to keep teachers, but some programs are working to buck the trend | Hawaii Tribune-Herald ( state-struggles-keep-teachers-some-programs-are-working-buck-trend).

Accessed on 06 September 2016, 15:20 hrs, UTC.

Reporter:  Kirsten Johnson.

Please click link to read the full story.


Because of a continuing teacher shortage in the state, most teachers applying for a classroom position in Hawaii can get one.  The Hawaii Department of Education runs several innovative programs at the University of Hawaii-Hilo to attract potential teachers and place them in local schools.

However, the task of filling vacant teaching positions continues, with the DOE reporting that “about 44 percent of new teachers in Hawaii hired in the 2011-12 school year had quit within five years.”

Statistics show that the number of newly hired teachers with in-state certification “has declined in recent years”.  At the beginning of each school year, “the state has hundreds of vacant positions to fill”, with the current teacher shortage totaling 483 positions as of 16 August 2016.

Michelle Ebersole, professor and chair in the UH-Hilo School of Education, says UH-Hilo programs “are trying to bolster the profession by drawing interest locally and starting young.”  Recruiting efforts are directed to Hawaii Island high schools and at UH-Hilo “to create that pathway for students to teach…on the island.”


Based on what I’ve seen as a DOE substitute teacher, the underlying reason for teacher retention problems on Hawaii Island and throughout the state may rest with finding affordable housing for new teachers, especially in rural areas outside of Hilo, Kailua-Kona, and Waimea.  When I was a student at Kahuku High School on Oahu, most teachers in rural schools lived in state-run “teachers’ housing” on or near campus.  These temporary homes allowed new teachers to “get their feet on the ground”, get accustomed to island traditions, and take their time in finding acceptable homes for themselves and their families.  Perhaps, affordable housing is one way to retain our teachers.  Living in Hawaii is expensive, and that may be driving teachers away.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today!

Until next time,

Russ Roberts

Hawaii News Digest

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