Blog: Teacher Policies

Blog post By Megan Boren and Kim Anderson

Meeting Workforce Demand Won’t Happen With Teacher and Faculty Shortages
States aren’t connecting all the dots between education and workforce development, and it's hurting our economy.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know we’re experiencing record worker shortages in certain careers.

SREB has analyzed data on the economy, labor markets and education, and asked: In what ways is our economy tied to the success of our schools and colleges? How can we improve our economic future through education?

Blog post
SREB President Stephen Pruitt

Teacher shortages, workforce issues demand bolder solutions from states

By Stephen Pruitt, SREB President

Across the SREB states, many leaders are realizing the need for action on one of the biggest challenges in education: ensuring every student has a well-prepared teacher in every class, every year, no matter where they live.

I know personally how teachers can impact students’ lives. I started my career as a science teacher in Fayette County, Georgia, and I’m still humbled when former students tell me how I helped them become who they are as adults and find satisfying careers to pursue.

Blog post Megan Boren, SREB
Salaries 2014 to 2020 Health benefits 2019 to 2020 Retirement benefits 2019 to 2020 Take-home pay 2019 and 2020

To See Teacher Compensation, Look at More Than Salaries
Teacher Pay Is Increasing. So Is the Cost of Benefits

This spring, the National Education Association released its annual teacher pay analysis a bit earlier than usual. This data is widely used across the nation as the main source for average teacher salaries by state. The headline for 2021: Teacher salaries are going up by an average of 1.5% across the nation, and average spending per pupil is up 5%.

This is fantastic news ─ no bones about it.

It’s also not the whole story.

Blog post By Alan Richard, SREB News
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT TEACHER SHORTAGES — AND HOW STATES, DISTRICTS CAN RESPOND

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT TEACHER SHORTAGES — AND HOW STATES, DISTRICTS CAN RESPOND

What do we know about teacher shortages in each state and across the country? How severe are they? What has caused the shortages — and how can leaders help solve them?

SREB joined leaders from EducationCounsel, FutureEd at Georgetown University, and state and local school systems for an online event Nov. 8 to answer these important questions. (See the video of the event at the end of this story.)

Blog post Megan Boren, SREB

How States Can Elevate the Teaching Profession
Restoring respect and value

Good schools depend on excellent teachers, in every classroom. SREB is helping states examine and redesign state policies to elevate the profession and end teacher shortages.   

I want my daughter to have the best teachers every school year. What parent doesn’t? Yet in too many schools, the only teachers available are uncertified or brand new, with no experience.  

Blog post Alan Richard, SREB News Manager

Impact of teacher shortages in most states far-reaching

When students don’t have good teachers, it can affect their cognitive growth — and over time can result in measurable economic loss.

Teacher shortages, therefore, are the type of crisis that “can put an entire society at risk,” said Nicole Smith, the chief economist and research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Blog post Megan Boren, Program Specialist, SREBBlog Post

Respect (and Pay) Our Teachers, Or Lose Them

teacher overseeing student work in library As state education budgets suffer during this pandemic, the teaching profession simply cannot absorb the kind of blow it took in the last recession. Teacher salaries dropped substantially then, and today, a decade later, they’re still lower on average than before the Great Recession. Morale has dropped, too, according to surveys, and turnover has risen as budgets and teacher supports decrease. We can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes in this current climate, another recession aggravated by COVID-19.

Blog post Megan Boren, Program Specialist, SREB

COVID-19 Effects on the Teacher Workforce

In April, my mom called me with the news that my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Metcalfe, who was rounding out his 42nd year of teaching, had died from COVID-19. I knew him from class, of course, but I also went to school with his son for 13 years and his family attended my grandparent’s church.

He was respected, loved and honored for his excellent teaching. His funeral was an all-day parade of cars through the high school parking lot, where community members waved and shouted condolences to his family. My mom said the cars stretched down the street for miles.

Blog post Jessica Snellings, Research Analyst

How States Can Reduce College Debt for Future Teachers 

A major issue for my generation, the millennials, and for Gen Z as well is deep, suffocating student debt. For those who want to enter teaching, a career that is not compensated handsomely, this debt can be even more daunting.

Many teacher candidates work full- or part-time jobs in addition to attending classes. When they enter their student teaching period, whether for a semester or a year, these candidates are expected to give over their time fully to student teaching, which makes working nearly impossible.

Blog post Jessica Snellings, Research Analyst

How Some Oklahomans Want to Retain Beginning Teachers

Many states have a critical issue with retaining early-career teachers, no matter their preparation pathway. Oklahoma has one of the more severe teacher shortages, with 57% of new teachers leaving the profession by their fifth year, compared to 44% nationwide.

One of the top reasons early career teachers leave is lack of support. Better early career support would help solve the costly problem of having to prepare and hire a new teacher each time another leaves the profession.

Blog post Megan Boren

A Long-Term Solution to Teacher Shortages
Finding the Root of the Problem

We’ve all heard the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When it comes to state policies affecting the teacher workforce, it’s important to see both.  

Teachers make life-long impressions on thousands of students — over 3,000 in an average career — and help raise every generation to understand the world and become productive, well-rounded citizens.

Blog post Matthew Smith, SREB Research Associate

Getting the Balance Right
Reconsidering the Mix of Teacher Licensure Measures

The SREB Teacher Preparation Commission called on state leaders to adopt practice-based assessments. These tests assess candidates’ readiness to lead a classroom and to apply lessons learned during coursework and clinical experiences.

Practice-based assessments have diagnostic value, meaning they provide performance data that educator preparation programs can use to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. State agencies could use the assessment data to determine how they will provide technical assistance to preparation programs.

Blog post Guest post by Education First

How States Can Get Teacher Evaluation Systems Right
Insights from our partners at Education First

High-quality teacher evaluations are an important component of comprehensive systems to ensure that all students are being taught by effective teachers. From evaluations, districts and states can generate data that can positively impact teachers and students in numerous ways. This is why states have invested so much in them – since 2009, 37 states have updated their evaluation systems – and why they are so important to get right.

Blog post Samantha Durrance, Policy Analyst, SREB

Are teachers prepared to teach reading?
Research shows a gap between what we know about reading and how teachers are prepared to teach it

Reading is the foundation for learning.

The research is clear: Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are much more likely to face poor academic outcomes. For this reason alone, we know it is incredibly important that children learn to read well early in elementary school and continue to build on those reading skills throughout the rest of school.