Tackling the National Teacher Shortage

As the headlines are declaring, the U.S. is in the midst of a national teacher shortage. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) latest survey results on public school experiences with COVID-19 shows that, 53 percent of all public schools felt understaffed entering the 2022-2023 school year, and 69 percent reported too few candidates as the biggest challenge to hiring teachers.*

Another significant issue is teacher retention. The article, Should I Stay or Quit?, on WeAreTeachers.com reported on a February 2022 National Education Association survey that revealed 55 percent of current  educators were thinking of leaving the profession, nearly a 20 percent increase from 37 percent the previous August.

Our own study of 3,500 teachers, Educator Perspectives on the State of the Teaching Profession, 2022, gave similar eye-opening and alarming insights into the state of the teaching profession. It showed that nearly a third of teachers see themselves leaving education within five years and only 10 percent would strongly recommend the profession to a young person.

There are investments being made at the federal and local levels to help combat this critical problem. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced $60 million in grants to address the teacher shortage and ensure long-term investments in teacher pipeline and development programs across the country. The program, called Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED), includes 22 new three-year grants, bringing the Administration’s additional support for teachers through 2022 grant competitions to more than $285 million.

The SEED program supports evidence-based practices that prioritize educators’ growth across the continuum of their careers. Funded projects are designed to support the educator workforce through high-quality, comprehensive teacher preparation programs, including those with a strong track record of recruiting and placing underrepresented teacher candidates.

The grants have been awarded to both national and local organizations. For example, the National Center for Teacher Residencies’ (NCTR) received $1.8 million for its Centering Equity, Building & Scaling Teacher Residencies project which aims to increase the number of effective teacher residents from diverse backgrounds in underserved schools, districts, and subjects by boosting teacher residency programs across Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.  

On a local level, the New Orleans SEED program received a $3 million grant to address the city’s persistent teacher shortage problem by focusing on boosting pathways into the profession through the expansion of innovative and promising Grow-Your-Own pathways. By 2025, the project hopes to recruit, prepare, and place 550 teachers in underserved schools and have more than 200 high school students in the city’s teacher pipeline. The complete list of grant awardees and their projects are included in this press release from the USDOE.

As you continue to enhance your products and services to support the education market, think about this crisis and the ways that you might be able to support states, school districts, school leaders, and community organizations as they strive to retain the teachers they have and fill the teacher pipeline. Perhaps you have an offering that might enhance the mission of one of the SEED grant awardees.

Want to think creatively about the teacher shortage and ways your company can help? We’re here to brainstorm with you as you develop your 2023 marketing plans.

*More than 98 Percent of Public Schools Made Concerted Efforts to Promote Pandemic-Related Learning Recovery During the 2021-22 School Year