AASPA Seeks ‘Promising Practices’ for Addressing the Educator Shortage
We know the educator shortage is a national crisis. To promote conversations across traditional silos, the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) convened PK-20 stakeholders, including AACTE, to discuss educator workforce and pipeline shortages at the annual National Educator Shortage Summit. The results of this gathering are represented in a whitepaper entitled 5 Shifts for Addressing the Educators Shortage.
This white paper moves beyond surface-level responses to examine deeper, systemic issues that contribute to mismatches between educator supply and demand. Five comprehensive shifts are presented in contrast to traditional calls to action. A discussion of each shift contains high-level recommendations, along with examples of actions that different stakeholder groups can take to address the educator shortage.
Representatives from stakeholder organizations, including government, associations, nonprofits, preparation programs, and PK-12 education organizations can use this paper to chart a pathway forward. Ensuring each student has the future they deserve requires disruptive change. It involves redesigning talent systems in education to create workplaces that both attract new people into education and also retain those who want to stay.
As a follow up to the 2022 and 2023 National Educator Shortage Summit, we are looking to expand on the 5 Shifts for Addressing the Educators Shortage to share strategies and “Promising Practices” that are working to address the educator shortage. Many of these strategies are coming from postsecondary institutions in partnerships with PK-12, Departments of Education and Labor. The areas of “Promising Practices” include the following.
Reduce Barriers to Careers in Education While Preserving Standards of Excellence
- Transparent Workforce Data: Publish accurate and timely data on career options in education (e.g., supply/demand, preparation program completion).
- Data-Driven Career Counseling: Help prospective educators use workforce data to make career decisions.
- Increased Affordability: Decrease educator preparation expenses through a variety of programs (e.g., student loan forgiveness, program cost reductions, and scholarship programs.
- Preparation Programs Completion: Assist prospective educators with overcoming barriers (e.g., costs, transportation, childcare, duration, unpaid/low wage internships) to beginning and/or completing programs.
- Preparation Program Alignment: Ensure programs adequately prepare candidates for job requirements.
- Licensure & Certification: Address hurdles to obtaining licensure and certification (e.g., costs, understanding the process, options for licensure attainment) while expanding licensure reciprocity both nationally and internationally.
Design Comprehensive HC Management Systems
- Organizational People Strategy: Develop comprehensive strategies to recruit and retain educators. Unpack your organization’s competitive advantages and leverage them appropriately.
- Strategic Leadership: Ensure leaders are empowered, strategic decision makers accountable for organizational outcomes.
- People Managers: Select and develop people who manage others to be inclusive human capital managers.
- Talent Acquisition: Find, attract, and hire qualified educators.
- Talent Development: Foster employee learning and growth through feedback, interaction, and job-specific training and development.
Establish Transparent and Equitable Total Rewards System
- Employee-centered Total Rewards Strategy: Align total rewards with employee wants and needs, including access to competitive wages, growth opportunities, and physical and mental health supports.
- Transparent Offerings: Ensure employees are aware of and utilizing total rewards offerings. Communicate offerings through your employee value proposition (EVP).
- Flexible Staffing Models: Support work-life integration by exploring flexible or non-traditional work arrangements (e.g., flex schedules, work from home, combining part-time roles).
- Funding & Policy Flexibility: Increase funding allocations and policy flexibility related to personnel budget expenditures.
- Pay Equity: Monitor systems, structures, and processes to ensure internal and external pay equity.
- Incentives for Education Careers: Offer incentives to individuals working in education (e.g., student loan forgiveness, tax incentives, housing assistance, and other perks).
Strengthen Educators’ Sense of Purpose, Belonging and Connection
- Meaningful Work: Help educators feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
- Autonomy: Maximize educator voice and choice.
- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI): Build a welcoming workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Community Building: Provide opportunities for educators to build supportive social relationships (e.g., professional networks, employee resource groups).
Deliver Exceptional Employment Experiences
- Customer Service: Treat employees like customers in the workplace.
- Work-Life Integration: Promote work-life balance through flexibility and support for all employees.
- Data-driven Improvements: Look across the entire candidate and employee journey to uncover and address causes of attrition.
- Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Develop and deliver on your employee value proposition. Monitor and address gaps between expectations and experiences.
- Internal Ambassadors for the Profession: Equip employees to be promoters of careers in education.
AASPA is seeking submissions from postsecondary institutions. To be included, please complete the following form: https://forms.gle/NTVNPpz5s4BohYom9.
“Promising Practices” will be compiled and added to the appropriate sections of the 5 Shifts for Addressing the Educators Shortage for release this fall. If you would like more information, please contact me at email@example.com.
Kelly Coash-Johnson is executive director of American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA).