The number of teacher vacancies in New Mexico has seen a significant decrease compared to last year, according to a report by New Mexico State University’s Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center.
The report, which has been posted at the center’s website and is available to the public, found the number of teacher vacancies decreased to 690 vacancies compared to 1,048 teacher vacancies last year, a 34 percent decrease over the past year.
Rachel Boren, director of the center, also known as the SOAR Center, said this year’s results compare to the numbers seen before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 690 teacher vacancies are similar to totals we gathered before the pandemic,” Boren said. “There are still needs for teachers and other support positions across the state; however, a decrease in open teacher positions is encouraging to report.”
Last year, there were 1,727 educator vacancies, with 1,048 of those for teachers. The study found that this year, there were a total of 1,344 educator vacancies. The areas with the highest needs for teachers continue to be special education and elementary education, which were also the top areas in the prior three reports. The subjects with the largest needs continue to be math, science and English language arts.
Rick Marlatt, interim director of the NMSU School of Teacher Preparation, Administration and Leadership, said the report’s findings highlight the collaborative partnerships between stakeholders throughout the state.
Marlatt said those partnerships “have resulted in greater numbers of preservice teachers pursuing licensure and entering the teacher workforce, along with fewer teachers leaving the profession. These positive trends in teacher vacancies directly reflect the state's commitment to improving educational outcomes for all students in New Mexico, as well as the dedication from educator preparation programs throughout the state in carrying out numerous exciting initiatives and engaging in innovative programming to recruit, prepare, support and retain highly qualified educators in high-needs areas.”
The report states that across all four-year and two-year higher education institutions and programs in New Mexico, 1,886 students were admitted to an educator preparation program during the 2021-22 academic year, compared to 1,596 students the year before. This year, 1,027 students completed an educator preparation program, which is 48 more compared to the prior year.
Marlatt said NMSU’s Teacher Education Program in the School of TPAL has contributed substantially to addressing educator vacancies.
“We have increased our enrollment in licensure programs across the board, expanded our partnerships with rural school districts, and continued our commitment to offering culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum, instruction, and professional development opportunities for educators at all career stages. We continue to celebrate strong successes in our efforts to generate and sustain a robust, diverse teacher education pipeline for New Mexico,” Marlatt said.
The report also found needs for educational assistants, paraprofessionals, speech language pathologists and counselors, among other positions that offer important support for students.
Methods for determining the amount of educator vacancies include compiling the number of job openings listed by every school district in New Mexico, as well as data provided by the state’s colleges and universities.
To download the 2022 New Mexico Educator Vacancy Report and view past reports, visit https://alliance.nmsu.edu/soar-center/publications.html. This year’s report was prepared by Boren and SOAR researchers Danisha Baro, Jordan Kocon, Maryanne Long and Patrick McNally.
CUTLINE: The number of teacher vacancies in New Mexico has seen a significant decrease compared to last year, according to a report by New Mexico State University’s Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center. The number of teacher vacancies decreased to 690 vacancies compared to 1,048 teacher vacancies last year, a 34 percent decrease over the past year. (NMSU photo)