Rural school districts team with Texas Tech to address teacher s

Rural school districts team with Texas Tech to address teacher shortages

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Rural teacher shortages are still a major problem in West Texas, but eight school districts have now said enough is enough.

Those schools are Crosbyton, Fayetteville, Floydada, Hamlin, Roosevelt, Slaton, Tahoka, and Brownfield.

They have partnered with Texas Tech to find a long-term solution to this issue.

Doug Hamman, the chair of Tech's teacher prep department, said the purpose of the coalition is to develop a consistent and expanded teacher pipeline.

"The problem for rural districts is that they don't necessarily have the human capital resource to draw upon. So when you have an opening in your school, larger districts have a pool of applicants, but rural districts often do not," Hamman said.

With this new pipeline through Texas Tech, Hamman said these schools are now fully committed to addressing teacher shortages head on. 

"They're problem solving together, they're thinking about funding solutions, and they're thinking of ways of sustaining the program long term, so no longer are they sitting back and saying -- we're the victim of this. Poor us, we can't find teachers. But now they're trying to directly address the issue," Hamman said.

He said connecting Tech students looking to become educators to these rural school districts is a great step toward addressing these shortages, but it's only a start of something bigger. 

"It's going to take more than just a university to solve the problem and it's going to take more than a district working in isolation, so the coalition is really about putting together a school district with a university and with state support to try to identify and support potential teachers," Hamman said.

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