- There are 389,000 fewer teachers in the K-12 workforce than are needed to keep up with a growing student population, according to a jobs report issued Friday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
- Elise Gould, a senior economist at EPI, writes that compared to pre-recession years, there are 116,000 fewer jobs in public education and that these gaps are leading to larger class sizes and fewer teachers’ aides in the classroom.
- “State and local government austerity since the recession has contributed to a significant shortfall in education employment,” she writes, noting strikes across the country in which teachers are protesting working conditions and the wage gap.
The latest report on teacher shortages from the Learning Policy Institute noted that while shortages exist in most states, they predominantly affect schools and districts with the greatest needs. But the report also noted the role principals play in creating positive working conditions, supporting collaborative environments, and implementing other measures that contribute to teacher recruitment and retention — even in high-needs schools.
The authors also highlighted efforts in several states, such as North Carolina, Tennessee and North Dakota, to strengthen principal pathways through initiatives such as residency programs in high-needs districts and mentoring for new administrators. Other experts recommend tapping paraprofessionals for teacher training and certification programs, and giving teachers more input into decisions that affect school policy.