- The U.S. Department of Education released guidance Tuesday to outline the ways in which the Every Student Succeeds Act's increased flexibility around Title II, Part A spending can help schools prepare, train and recruit high-quality teachers and principals.
- The department recommends states and districts create multiple pathways to teaching and leading, new induction and mentorship programs, meaningful evaluation and support systems, strong teacher leadership opportunities and transformative school leadership supports.
- Title II, Part A funds should also be spent to help expand diversity among those teaching historically under-served student groups, provide equitable access to high-quality teachers across schools and districts and leverage teacher expertise and leadership in school decision-making and grant applications.
As the K-12 student population becomes increasingly diverse, the teacher pipeline is expected to remain primarily white for decades, at least. One key barrier that creates the diversity problems in the field and teacher shortages in some regions is low retention. Researchers have identified the United States’ relatively high attrition rate as a major problem for schools, districts and states. While higher salaries may help teachers commit to their schools, improving working conditions could be an even more powerful strategy.
Teacher morale is lowest among those who feel they have no control over school decision-making. In an era of top-down reform efforts, many teachers are left craving opportunities to use their expertise in and outside of the classroom. Administrators who can create shared leadership structures and foster a culture of respect for teacher knowledge can save themselves work on the recruitment and induction side while improving their schools for teachers and students.