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Oregon Lost Students But Added Teachers, According To A State Report!

Oregon Lost Students But Added Teachers, According To A State Report

Oregon Lost Students But Added Teachers, According To A State Report

Oregon Lost Students But Added Teachers, According To A State Report: During the 2021–2022 school year, Oregon’s public schools hired an all-time high number of teachers, despite a sharp decline in enrollment that brought it to its lowest point in nearly two decades.

The Oregon Department of Education’s annual statewide “report card,” which provides a thorough summary of educational data and trends, was just released on Thursday. According to counts of full-time equivalent employment, there were 32,836 teachers overall in Oregon public school classrooms in the 21–22 academic year, or 1,508 more teachers than in the 17–18 academic year.

Even though there were 27,672 fewer pupils enrolled statewide in the 2017–2018 school year than there were five years prior, that was the case. Oregon’s state education funding is based on attendance, so if enrollment patterns don’t improve, the state’s 197 school districts may soon be forced to lay off personnel.

In the districts where enrollment has dropped most dramatically, teacher reductions are most likely to occur. For the time being, school districts in the metro area have used an influx of federal and state funding as well as local rainy-day funds to avoid making such cuts, especially given the fact that many students are having academic and mental difficulties as a result of the disruptions brought on by COVID-19 for the past two years.

Oregon Lost Students But Added Teachers, According To A State Report

The epidemic, which caused some students to choose private and online options while others dropped out, disappeared from the system, or started working, has been blamed for the reduction in enrolment.

Demographers at Portland State University claim that it has also been made worse by a dropping birthrate as well as rising housing costs, which have caused some families to relocate or postpone having children.

According to Reed Scott-Schwalbach, president of the Oregon Education Association and a high school Spanish teacher at Centennial High School in eastern Multnomah County, “the student enrollment issue that we are witnessing now is not one we believe will continue.”

They are returning at various levels. The number of high school students has increased recently. To ensure that their needs are satisfied when they return to the public school system, we must provide them with strong services and personnel.

The largest school district in the state, Portland Public Schools, presented a plan to eliminate more than 100 teaching positions last winter, citing dwindling enrollment. They encountered a wall of opposition from both teachers and parents, but they eventually managed to keep almost all of those jobs, in part by drawing on reserves.

However, several members of the school board cautioned that they would eventually have to pay the piper, particularly if enrollment doesn’t increase. According to PPS school board member Andrew Scott, “We are getting a lot of emails about ‘Preserve all these positions, preserve all these class sizes.

In one to two years, “I have a sense that will result in a massive cliff.” School counsellors’ numbers increased 8.8 per cent statewide during the 2021–2022 academic year as schools attempted to deal with the rising number of behavioural and mental health difficulties among their students.

Some of that staff was employed using funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Education Recovery Act of the federal government, which are designated for pandemic relief and are use-it-or-lose-it by September 2024.

Schools in Oregon and across the country have been having trouble filling important positions, such as custodians, school bus drivers, mental health experts, and substitute teachers, even as the number of educators has increased.

In Beaverton schools, for instance, there are only a handful of unfilled positions for classroom teachers right now, but at least 22 paraeducators are needed to give individualized help to students with special needs.

The issue, according to Sharon Reese, director of human resources for Portland Public Schools, is that we are still vying for the same applicant pool. “Where are we having trouble? The topic is special education. Counsellors and other mental health specialists are involved. We are seeing fewer students, yet our pupils’ needs are growing even if there are fewer students.

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