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North Dakota faces a teacher shortage in 'every content area'

North Dakota is facing a teacher shortage – in virtually every content area.

That assessment came from the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Because of that, the North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education held a day long summit in Bismarck, to find ways to attract students to go into teaching.

Dr. Stacy Duffield of NDSU is the association’s president. She said her organization surveyed teachers who have completed their first year in the classroom. Duffield said for those who didn’t go into teaching, or continue in the classroom, the reasons are changing from earlier surveys.

"It used to be more personal," Duffield said. "Like, 'My spouse has a job, and I'm place bound' or 'I'm gonna raise my children,'" Duffield said in an interview. "Now we're seeing more people click the box that says something about school culture, community pressures, the demands of the job. So we are seeing some political fallout."

North Dakota United — the organization that represents teachers — conducted an earlier survey showing teachers feeling disrespected and under-appreciated. NDU President Nick Archuleta said it's not just a salary issue — it's dealing more with discourse around education.

"Whether it was masks, or critical race theory debates, teachers became an unnecessary part of the 'culture war' that others wanted to continue to fight," Archuleta said. "Teachers didn't sign up for that."

Archuleta and Duffield said the teacher shortage is a national phenomenon. And they said they will be looking at what other states are doing to help attract students to the teaching profession.

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