To better understand the causes of the state’s teacher shortage, academics have issued a new, in-depth analysis.
Non-profit leader Laura Boyce remarked, “We actually are seeing a grave and worsening teacher shortage catastrophe across the Commonwealth.” Teach Plus Pennsylvania is working to address this issue.
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Boyce and a writer from the National Center on Education & the Economy collaborated on the 36-page paper.
It aims to provide a synopsis of the conversations that took place at a summit attended by education leaders in September of last year.
Boyce claims that during the past decade, Pennsylvania has seen a decrease of almost two-thirds in the number of available teachers.
There are shortages in several states, but most of them aren’t as severe as California’s.
Boyce said the scarcity “dates back at least a decade if you look at trends,” so the pandemic only made things worse.
Several causes are discussed in the research paper for the deficiency. As an example, the research states that the cost of becoming a qualified teacher is rising while teacher incomes remain stagnant.
It also mentions that fewer people are interested in becoming teachers and that retention rates are lower since new teachers don’t feel adequately prepared.
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When asked about the difficulties some teachers face, Boyce said, “working conditions” include “not just pay but also how teachers are treated at the building level, at a societal level, the conditions that they are dealing with in terms of how much time they have to plan and collaborate, and whether they have opportunities to advance in their careers.”
The following policy strategies are outlined in the report to enhance the teaching force:
- Encourage programs that provide excellent training for future educators, including courses that are challenging and clinical experiences that have been planned with careful consideration and in collaboration with local education authorities.
- Invest in teacher retention by providing clear advancement opportunities.
- Third, increase opportunities for students and aides to enter the teaching profession.
- Four, make teaching a more financially viable profession.
- Five, strengthen information gathering to better direct funding towards pre-service and in-service teacher preparation programs.
Boyce argued that this spending was crucial since it would benefit the economy and the workforce in the long run. “Our teachers are preparing pupils for every other kind of career, so if you don’t have strong teachers, you don’t have a strong workforce.
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