Politics & Policies

Teacher Shortage in US – A crisis made worse by COVID

Some estimates have put the shortage of teachers relative to the number of new vacancies in classrooms across the country that go unfilled at more than 100,000—a crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. But policy changes can go a long way in addressing this shortfall. We lay out those policy solutions in our just-released paper, A…

Increased attrition among older teachers indicates a double loss, in terms of numbers and credentials, just at a time when the needs for more personalized instruction, smaller class sizes, and extended school schedules demand the opposite on the same two fronts. More highly credentialed teachers are needed to tackle the pandemic challenges and the inequities it has exacerbated. This will be especially important in high-poverty schools, where resources are already scarcest relative to the needs.

Policy recommendations

As troubling as this scenario is, the path forward is eminently viable. The policy agenda we set forth offers an effective strategy to retain highly credentialed teachers and attract new ones into the profession, and with the pandemic the adoption of our recommendations is even more urgent.

We structure the recommendations into two main buckets: system-level recommendations that would improve the education system broadly, and specific policy recommendations targeting the factors that contribute to the teacher shortage.

As the pandemic persists, we cannot emphasize enough how critical it is for policymakers at all levels to act immediately. And they must learn from a critical lesson imparted by the prior recession and from the evidence: Failing to understand the close connections among resources, teachers’ working conditions, and the shortage will greatly exacerbate the problems we already faced going into the pandemic.

We can ill afford to make that mistake again. We must make more resources available to enable the relief, recovery, and rebuilding stages that will help us weather the pandemic, address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on education, and build a stronger, more equitable public education system.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Policy solutions to deal with the nation’s teacher shortage—a crisis made worse by COVID-19 | Economic Policy Institute

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