Faced with the prospect of broad cuts as states fall deeper into deficit, many school districts nationwide can look to at least one positive trend: an easing of the teacher shortage this year.
From Buffalo, N.Y., to the San Francisco Bay Area, a host of cities and states are finding more qualified teachers - at a time when the shortage was expected only to grow more severe.
The economy has played a part, as workers seek more secure jobs and cuts leave fewer positions to fill. Americans' post-Sept. 11 desire for more meaning has driven some to teaching, as well. But a new emphasis on recruiting and retention is also showing encouraging results.