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Recruit and Retain Educators

Solving the teacher shortage, along with shortages of support staff like bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians, requires long-term, evidence-based strategies.
maria reed Jen Pottheiser
Maria Reed is a bus driver in New Jersey and president of the Bridgewater-Raritan Transportation Association

There is no shortage of people who are called to teach and inspire the next generation.

There is, however, a decades-long effort by certain politicians to undermine public education by offering paltry wages, diminishing the respect for educators, and denying educators autonomy to make teaching decisions.

So, we are coming together to ensure every student learns from a great educator and that educators:

  • have a seat at the table to advocate for their students’ futures,
  • get the respect they’re due, and
  • earn the pay and benefits that enable them to sustain long-lasting careers.

Here’s How to Fix Educator Shortages

Solving educator shortages requires evidence-based, long-term strategies that address both recruitment and retention.
Respect Now

Make Pay & Benefits Competitive

In 2021, educators were paid on average 23.5 percent less than other professionals with the same education. To encourage people that education is a viable profession for them, we need to close the educator pay gap.
diverse students talking in a circle in school library

Improve Working Conditions

Overworked and underpaid. When class sizes are smaller and educators are not taking on multiple responsibilities, they are able to spend more one-on-one time with students.
educators at a table for collective bargaining

Increase Educator Voice, Respect, and Professional Autonomy

When educators are respected as professionals and included in decision-making, they have higher job satisfaction.
HE Month!

Student Debt Relief and Forgiveness

For educators, the student debt burden is especially cruel and has many negative consequences.
Roman Trejo

Recruitment Strategies

Ensuring there is a pipeline of qualified, dedicated educators will ensure students have the support they need and deserve.
Nicki Belnap

Retention Strategies

If a teacher or a bus driver is underpaid, undervalued, and not respected or supported, what is to stop them from looking elsewhere?

Causes of Educator Shortages

For decades, public school educators have worked hard to meet their students’ needs with far too few resources and too little planning time.

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.

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.

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.

6 charts to explain shortages

young black man educator in front of a blue curtain
A Band-Aid approach says to our students that—in the teaching profession—advanced, content-specific professionals should just teach what they’re told and not what they have dedicated their academic and professional lives to teaching.
Quote by: Marvin Burton, Jr., Middle School and High School Teacher, Forestville, MD
teacher demoralization

Whitepaper: Solving Educator Shortages

We know what to do; we have the solutions in front of us. NEA’s report outlines a wide variety of long-term strategies and solutions that are effective at recruiting and retaining educators.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.