- Solving educator shortages requires evidence-based, long-term strategies that address both recruitment and retention.
- Specific attention must be paid to recruiting and retaining educators of color who face unique barriers to pursuing education careers.
- Failing to address educator shortages has led to negative effects on students, schools, districts, and communities.
For decades, public school educators have worked hard to meet their students’ needs with far too few resources and too little planning time.
At the same time, educators have been grossly under-compensated as a profession compared to other professions with comparable education and training requirements; similarly, the wages and benefits for many education support professionals (ESPs) can no longer compete with jobs outside of education.
The educator shortage crisis is real, and it is the result of numerous factors not controlled by educators. It requires immediate and sustained attention to identify and implement long-term solutions to improve educator recruitment and retention.
Elected officials who make funding and policy decisions have too often negated their responsibility to ensure fair and adequate access to public education resources. The result—low pay, lack of professional respect, and a failure to fund the resources that students need to thrive—has caused an unprecedented school staffing crisis across nearly every job category.
The number of individuals entering and graduating from teacher preparation programs is much lower now than a decade ago, while the percentage leaving positions in public education continues to increase.
Every child needs and deserves a neighborhood school with:
- well-prepared teachers,
- class sizes that enable one-on-one attention, and
- nurses, counselors, and healthy meals to ensure they can thrive.
That is why educators at all levels—school district leaders; local, state, and national policymakers; families; and communities—must work together to solve this problem.
The good news is that we know what to do; we have the solutions in front of us. We cannot and should not turn from them and rely on short-term fixes.
This report outlines a wide variety of long-term strategies and solutions that are effective at recruiting and retaining educators and, most importantly, reflect the needs and priorities of educators themselves.
Across the country, educators and their unions, school and district administrators, and policymakers are working together to make education an attractive and competitive career.
While we have a long way to go, the path to achieving a well-staffed, equitable, and just public education system is clear.