Vermont classroom aide openings outnumber population of North Hero, 87 other towns

by Steven Berbeco, 802 Newsletter

Teachers have an outsized role in education and for good reason: they deliver the lessons, keep the classrooms orderly, and a few dozen other duties as assigned. It would stand to reason, then, that teachers would be top of the charts when it comes to recruiting for school staff positions. After all, how many of us naturally think about teachers when the topic of staff shortages comes up?

The reality, though, or at least the reality in our post-pandemic world of new normals, is that teachers are among the fewest open positions in Vermont today. There are about 200 open positions for teachers, fewer than food services (about 280) and afterschool program staff (about 400). Maybe not the catastrophic numbers that one would expect.

Classroom aides, however, are another story. This job category includes paraeducators, bus assistants, instructional assistants, reading assistants, technical education specialists, and many other similar roles. There are currently more than a thousand open positions for classroom aides across the state, representing more than a third of all open positions in education. To put this into context, the number of open positions is greater than the population of North Hero, Canaan, Ripton, or 85 other towns in Vermont. (Link .xls)

The chart below tracks the number of openings for classroom aides over the total number of education openings in the 90 days prior to publication, presented as data points. Data from AOE’s Aithent Licensing System. (Link .htm)

Republished from 802 Newsletter

Categories: Education

7 replies »

  1. Perhaps this demonstrates that the public school system can function, after all, without so many staff.

  2. I can’t work in a school that is now teaching some version of CRT, a watered down education, and “the state is your parent” mentality. During the COVID, many of your paras, aide, 1:1’s, and substitute teachers walked away. Some retired and some found new positions outside of school. If parents are pulling their kids out of schools, why would adults with common sense want to work there when we can go elsewhere for the same or better pay and a lot less stress and frustration.

  3. As a lifelong teacher that has worked in schools in other states, I’ve always marvelled at Vermont’s willingness to have so many paras and one on one aids. It does make for a much friendlier atmosphere in the schools, but the cost is pricey and I’ve been amazed to see Vermont’s willingness to cover these expenses. Yes, to all of what Anom says.

    And yes, to what Jay says, too. In other states you won’t find near as many 1:1’s and yes, it will cut back on expenditures that can be covered in other manners, but there will be more frustration in the mix. When students that can’t have a walk break when they need it, friendly 1:1 practice with flashcards and games for students challenged by skills other students acquired faster, supervision to get assignments finished; assistance in staying focused; will mean there will be more frustrated students acting out and not having someone to intervene and requiring the classroom teacher to accommodate these scenarios on top of juggling other learning experiences and giving them more frustrations, too.

    Vermont paras and 1:1’s have created a much friendlier classroom environment, though they are not broadly affecting academic performance. It has provided jobs to many Vermonters, but there are other job openings available, around towns now, too.

  4. I am not a teacher, but I have several friends and acquaintances who teach in VT public schools. As an outsider, I am hearing that there is an alarming number of students who need extra services. These are services stretching far beyond speech delays.

    Could it be overworked, disconnected parents who can’t emotionally support their children? Could it be unknown injuries beginning from birth due to “mandatory” schedules from the CDC in order to attend school?

    Is it that there is too much material pushed too soon on young children where many are not developmentally ready to receive, yet alone learn such information? Is there an advantage to pushing kindergartners to learn reading skills? Perhaps, some students feel discouraged at a young age and begin to act out when there is nothing developmentally wrong with that child.

    Could the bright lights, constant Wifi, screen time and physical/emotional overstimulation for seven hours that’s affecting these children? Is the physical environment nurturing to these young souls?

    There are probably thousands of reasons why the classrooms are so challenged. My heart goes out to the teachers, parents and all of the children. The all deserve to be in a situation where they can feel and be their best.

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