Teacher Recruitment and Retention Project

Recruiting and Supporting the next Generation of Highly Effective Teachers for Pennsylvania Classrooms

Although Pennsylvania has for decades by reputation and fact been a state that produces a surplus of prospective teachers, this is likely changing.  The number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs and the number of new certificates issued in recent years have declined dramatically.  Shortages appear to be occurring more frequently in more districts and more subject areas.  This is especially being manifested in the problem a large number of districts are having in finding substitute teachers.  As is so often the case, these problems seem to be especially present for districts with fewer resources.

The focus of this project is on the need to attract more Pennsylvanians, especially bright young students, to the teaching profession – and then providing necessary support as they enter and gain experience as newer teachers…

We are at risk of losing an entire generation of smart young students who we should be attracting to the teaching profession in Pennsylvania.  Anecdotally, we (and young prospective teachers) hear:

  • Teachers are often verbally abused as part of an oft-criticized profession.
  • When not criticized, teachers are often told they make too much money and should not expect to make much more money the rest of their careers.
  • Funding for public education is inadequate and unpredictable.
  • There have been many furloughs in Pennsylvania and many furloughed teachers have first “bumping” rights to return to restored or new positions.
  • Significant changes may occur in pensions available for future teachers.
  • Many current educators advise their own children or mentees to “not go into the teaching profession.”

We also know that a major problem continues to be difficulty in retaining a large percentage of new teachers beyond their first three years.  And we also know that Pennsylvania’s record of recruiting and retaining African American and Hispanic teachers is poor and even worse today than it was ten years ago.

EPLC wants to take a look at these issues, better determine the facts, and develop a report with actionable recommendations for various audiences, including Pennsylvania policymakers.

To do this work, EPLC will have the assistance of a Study Group we have convened that represents diverse stakeholder perspectives to help inform our work and our eventual report.  This is an advisory process that EPLC has used for all of the major reports it has previously published.  We also will seek relevant information from many other resources.

The work of the Study Group has begun in summer of 2016 and will lead to a report from EPLC during the second quarter of 2017.

For more information about the project as the work continues, please follow EPLC at www.eplc.org, on Twitter @eplc_education, or on Facebook.

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