ECS Explores Teacher Shortage Solutions

    The Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national state policy organization that partners with education policy leaders including AACTE, has released six reports that provide guidance to state policy makers seeking to address teacher shortages.

    An introductory report, Teacher Shortages: What We Know, examines the teacher labor market and highlights recent findings from state task forces that have addressed policies related to teacher shortages.

    Five additional reports consider different state strategies to tackle shortages: alternative certification, financial incentives, induction and mentorship, evaluation and feedback, teacher leadership.

    Some key takeaways from these reports:

    • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average 5-year attrition rate for new teachers is 17% (much lower than the commonly reported 50% attrition rate). Half of the 17% departing are due to involuntary transfers, pregnancy, and other often-temporary factors that allow them to return to the profession later.
    • In six states, teacher shortage task forces convened by state policy makers recommended offering financial incentives such as loan forgiveness, while five states recommended creating teacher induction and mentoring programs to reduce teacher turnover.
    • Twenty-three states have a diversified pay structure that offers bonuses or higher salaries to teachers in high-need schools and/or shortage subject areas.
    • Twenty-nine states require some type of mentoring or induction for new teachers. However, the New Teacher Center finds that only a few states’ policies are considered “high-quality” and “comprehensive.”

    AACTE Activities on Teacher Shortages

    In advance of the 2016 Annual Meeting, AACTE held a press briefing focused on educator preparation providers’ work to address the severe teacher shortage and boost the educator pipeline in Nevada. Video recording of the press briefing is available at the AACTE Learning Center. During the conference itself, a major forum panel explored collaborative ways to expand the western region’s educator pipeline. The recorded video from the major forum is available here.

    In addition, in partnership with the Council of State Governments Midwest/Midwest Legislative Committee Education Committee, Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) Chair Nadene Davidson hosted a webinar for Midwest state legislators focused on approaches to addressing shortages there. The webinar recording and presentation are available here.

    At next month’s State Leaders Institute, ACSR representatives will adopt a series of state policy statements including one focused on the educator pipeline.

    State Policy Trends on Teacher Shortage

    Thanks to AACTE’s State Policy Tracker, we know that so far this year at least 61 bills have been introduced in 19 states related to stemming teacher shortages and improving the educator pipeline. Of these bills, eight have been enacted, in Florida, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. For more information on state policy trends, check out my latest blog post recapping the year-to-date action.

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    Aaron Goldstein

    Manager, State Policy & Relations

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