Teacher Shortages & Local Solutions

Teacher turnover and lack of qualified applicants for open teaching positions is hardly news in Massachusetts. The latest brief from the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) analyzes recent data and proposes solutions for district leaders to provide long term solutions.

Addressing the Importance and Scale of the U.S. Teacher Shortage

The most striking impact of teacher turnover is the impact a revolving door of staff has on student learning:

 Schools experiencing a shortage of
teachers—especially a shortage of well-prepared,
experienced, and effective teachers—have lower levels
of student achievement and less positive student
outcomes overall.

Further, teacher turnover and attrition–indicators of a
teacher shortage–negatively affects students, schools,
and communities. Teacher turnover has been associated
with harming student achievement.

While some teacher shortages are driven by geographical factors in rural districts with no connections to a formal educator preparation pipeline, other shortages are manufactured by school takeover and misguided “turnaround” strategies that removed licensed and experienced educators from their positions. For a student perspective on the impact of teacher turnover, take a look at this story from Southbridge.

Teacher leadership, professional development and solid recruiting strategies have been the most popular solutions. The UCEA brief also recommends districts establish their own educator preparation program pathways:

Grow-Your-Own (GYO) programs in high need
schools. GYO initiatives are community-centered
programs of teacher education whose mission is to
improve teaching and learning in high need schools
by recruiting and preparing community-based
teachers and returning them to their local schools.
This collaborative method of recruiting, training,
and employing teachers builds local and
community capacity by working with community
based organizations, institutions of higher
education, and local schools.


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