New report by NSBA's Center for Public Education examines the teacher pipeline

NSBA’s research arm, the Center for Public Education (CPE), today released “Fixing the Holes in the Teacher Pipeline: An Overview of Teacher Shortages.” The new report examines the scope of the teacher shortage through state and national data on teacher supply and demand, and explores how local school and university leadership can affect the three main leverage points in the teacher pipeline: initial preparation, recruitment, and retention.

Many school districts across the country are struggling to attract and keep good teachers. The challenge is particularly acute in several states and in public schools that serve high proportions of minority and low-income children.

“Public schools face a number of challenges, and attracting and retaining good teachers is among the most important,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s executive director. “Assuring that every student has access to a well-prepared and effective teacher is the key element in the formula for successfully preparing the nation’s youth for life.”

According to the report, many researchers suggest that the supply of teachers nationwide is actually not significantly different than it was five years ago. However, the overall number masks imbalances that leave shortages on various fronts. For example, 20 states have experienced decreases in the award of teacher licenses, and some states have seen them drop one-third to one-half in the last four years. In general, schools are reporting fewer vacancies than they did a decade ago. Yet schools still report vacancies in STEM fields more than others, as well as special education and bilingual teachers. There is actually an excess of new elementary teachers across the country but schools are having trouble filling positions in middle and high schools. Districts are also facing a shortage of minority teachers while their student bodies are becoming increasingly diverse.

“Clearly, many communities suffer from gaps in the teacher pipeline, but approaches exist to help fill them,” said Patte Barth, director of the Center for Public Education and one of the report’s authors. “Among them: partnerships between school districts and colleges to help communities grow their own teachers and align recruitment to high-need fields; competitive salaries as well as incentives, financial and otherwise, for hard-to-fill positions; the creation of strong mentoring programs and professional learning communities that make schools places teachers want to be; and effective leadership at the school level to maintain a supportive, collaborative school environment."

For more information read our press release.

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