The Center for Public Education recently released its newest report Fixing the Holes in the Teacher Pipeline: An Overview of Teacher Shortages, which comes at a critical time when many state legislatures, local districts, and other national organizations are focusing on this issue. The report lays out best practices for preparing, recruiting, and retaining quality teachers.
Indiana’s Department of Education yesterday reported that it will be implementing the recommendations by their own Blue Ribbon Commission, many of which align with the CPE’s report including; partnering with Indiana University to address the shortage of special education teachers by increasing the supports given to current and prospective special education teachers; creating a full-time position to increase professional development and networking opportunities for teachers; and hosting the first teacher recruitment conference for students currently in high school (what CPE called “growing your own”).
Nevada is faced with a critical shortage as well. EdWeek has reported that it is using both short-term and long-term strategies such as fast-track teaching certifications, hiring bonuses for working in low-income schools, developing teacher recruiter positions, and working on new contracts which would increase pay for teachers.
For all districts faced with teacher shortage issues, keep in mind the questions CPE suggests asking about your district (listed below). Also, research and I (as a former teacher) agree that although a living wage salary is crucial, teachers most often report leaving a school or the profession due to poor working conditions rather than salary complaints. -Breanna Higgins
Questions for School Boards and District Leaders:
- Do we have enough teachers? Are there schools or subject areas in the district that are harder to staff than others? Does the demographic make-up of our staff reflect that of our students?
- Are our teachers qualified? Are all our teachers licensed in the area of their assignment? How many teachers have emergency credentials?
- Are we able to recruit qualified teachers? How do our salaries compare to neighboring districts? Can we provide incentives in shortage areas? How effective are our induction programs?
- Do we retain qualified teachers? What is our turnover rate? How does it compare to other districts? Do teachers feel supported in our schools?
- Can we grow our own? Do we have partnerships with universities? Can we collaborate on recruiting and training qualified candidates in order to maintain a steady supply of good teachers in our schools?