BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Teachers play an important role in our society, and in North Dakota, there are about 9,000 teachers. However, recently, like many other industries, teachers are experiencing a shortage in staff.

The North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education called for a teacher shortage summit at the Radisson on Wednesday.

A January survey of North Dakota teachers found that 74 percent of teachers call job retention a major issue for the school year of 2022-23.

There were representatives from all over North Dakota at the summit to talk about what changes they can implement in order to help the teacher shortage.

“We have a very critical shortage of special educators,” said Stacy Duffield, NDSU Office of Teaching & Learning professor and director. “We’re also seeing areas like math and science especially that we have seen some big shortages in those areas as well. So, looking to see how we might be able to prepare more teachers in those high critical shortage areas.”

One problem that was a concern for the shortage was politics. Teachers no longer feel appreciated or respected due to political discourse. Only about 5 percent of teachers feel appreciated and respected.

Sen. Tracy Potter from District 35 was at the summit to not only learn more about the problem but to help figure out a solution.

“Things like retention bonus. You’ve been in the business for five years, you’re teaching and you’re qualified and your administrator recommends you, maybe we can give you a bonus for that five years, and that two years and that 15 years. I suggested at 15, it should just go directly into their pensions because then it’ll be there forever,” explained Potter.

Other solutions they talked about were mentoring, adjusting the student loan rates for those that are going into teaching and appreciating the hard work teachers do.