At a time when many Kansas school districts don't have enough teachers, around 25,000 people who have state teacher licenses aren't teaching.
State education officials say that's a huge number, considering that the state currently has 41,000 working teachers. Some are staying home with children, while others have changed professions, moved on to teach in colleges and relocated to other states.
School districts have increased efforts to hold onto teachers, but the biggest help in meeting the needs of the teacher shortage may come from the struggling economy.
Kansas Education Commissioner Alexa Posny says a teaching license can be a safety valve. She says existing teachers could be slower to retire or pursue another career, and more college students may see teaching as secure profession.