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NASBE’s Standard Explores Strategies to Better Prepare, Recruit, and Support Teachers


Alexandria, VA—Educator shortages and the burnout of teachers and school leaders in the wake of the pandemic have been the subject of news headlines and on the agendas of state boards of education. In its recent announcement of federal initiatives to address staffing challenges, the Biden administration signaled its commitment to strengthen the profession. With timely, relevant insights, authors of NASBE’s latest State Education Standard deliver diverse perspectives on attracting, retaining, and equipping high-quality teachers and improving the capacity of school systems to support them.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Richard Ingersoll and colleagues ground the issue with an explanation of five key teacher workforce trends that state leaders must reckon with over the long run to build and sustain the teacher pipeline. Leslie Fenwick of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education details lessons that emerge from her 50-state scan of teacher preparation policies. She raises questions about the disparate quality of alternative programs and suggests states take special care to close loopholes in policy that allow such programs to skirt rigorous standards.

On teacher licensure, Heather Peske and Hannah Putman of the National Council on Teacher Quality urge state boards to resist calls to lower standards to meet educator shortages. Good state data can help state education leaders figure out where aspiring teachers get lost along the pathway to classroom teaching and target policy actions accordingly. TNTP’s Victoria Van Cleef argues that licensure tests pose problematic barriers for so many that they should be replaced with better means of assessing teachers—namely, demonstrated ability.

Learning Policy Institute’s Jennifer DePaoli and Ryan Saunders write about ways to remake teacher preparation with a whole-child approach, ensuring educators can better serve students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. Educator preparation is also a key part of efforts to create culturally responsive classroom, say Tanji Marshall Reed and William Rodick of The Education Trust. To achieve this, state boards must build state education systems that value students’ cultures, they say.

Two authors focus on strategies states and districts have adopted to improve teacher recruitment and retention. Paul Katnik, Missouri’s director of educator quality, lays out the multipronged approach his state has mounted to address its challenges. He stresses ongoing evaluation of these efforts will be as critical as sustained funding. University of Houston’s Conra Gist urges state-level criteria for district-led “grow-your-own” educator programs that can increase their utility in diversifying the teaching workforce.

Turning to the particular challenges of the early educator workforce and its struggles since the pandemic, New America’s Amaya Garcia and Cara Sklar lay out four strategies to strengthen the pipeline of early educators.

The NASBE Interview highlights a conversation between LPI’s Saunders, Illinois State Board Member Christine Benson, Virginia State University’s Willis Walter, and Center for Black Educator Development’s Sharif El-Mekki at NASBE’s Legislative Conference this spring. El-Mekki sums up the interconnectedness of relevant policies to support educators best: “If any recruitment plan doesn’t involve a retention effort that’s robust and sustainable, it is not a recruitment plan.”

Read and share the full “equipping teachers” issue of the State Education Standard.

NASBE serves as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at www.nasbe.org

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