There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the educator shortage crisis. Approaches will—and should—vary according to local community needs, but there are a handful of strategies that can bolster the teacher and school staff pipeline and rebuild trust in and respect for the profession. And fortunately, many of these strategies are popular—especially among members of America’s highly influential business community.
In our national survey, Kelly Education found that 86% of business leaders believe policymakers should act now to make the education profession more attractive, accessible, rewarding, and sustainable. Nearly half (48%) support increasing educator pay and benefits, and many support efforts to improve school culture and working conditions. This includes efforts to strengthen programs for new teachers— such as teacher residency programs or mentoring (47%), improvements to in-school mental and behavioral health services (43%), and the availability of high-intensity tutoring services (40%) to relieve classroom teachers of the stress associated with pandemic-related learning recovery.
Business leaders are also supportive of measures to attract new talent to the education profession, including making it easier to transition to teaching through short sequences of certificates and credentials (40%) and expanding access to alternative paths for earning teaching certification (39%). While enrollment with these programs outside of institutions of higher education (IHE) has grown substantially over the last decade, completion of these programs declined by 10% from academic year 2010-11 to 2018-19. While there is work to be done to improve completion rates, these programs do show a positive potential to increase America’s supply of diverse educator talent. Consider that in 2018-19, non-IHE programs enrolled the highest percentage (44%) of students of color: the first time in the past decade that any teacher preparation program sector enrolled a higher percentage of students of color than students who identified as white. At 20% of all enrollees, Black students were the largest group of students of color. What’s more, two in five business leaders are also amenable to the idea of creating a national tuition subsidy for people who are pursuing credentials and degrees that will lead to careers in education, whether at an institution of higher education or elsewhere.
Increasing educator compensation, including pay and benefits
Creating accessible on-ramps for career switchers and others to enter the profession, including short sequences of certificates and credentials (or “stackable credentials”)
Improving in-school mental and behavioral health services
Investing in increased security on and around campuses
Investing in mental health services (i.e., counseling) for educators
Investing in mental health services (i.e., counseling) for students
Creating a national tuition subsidy for prospective educators pursuing credentials in education
Developing stronger programs for new teachers, such as teacher residency programs and mentoring initiatives with veteran educators
Expanding access to alternative paths for earning teaching certification
Providing high-intensity tutoring to relieve classroom teachers of the stress associated with pandemic-related learning recovery
None of the above
Our survey also showed that business leaders are willing to play a role in addressing the educator shortage in their communities. More than three in four (78%) business leaders said that businesses should contribute more toward comprehensive educator preparation—with 63% saying that large businesses or corporations should be expected to contribute, and more than two in five (42%) affirming that local businesses should contribute. They also believe that businesses can help offset wage issues by taking actions such as offering year-round discounts to educators, supporting affordable housing subsidies, and funding affordable housing to essential, public-sector employees such as educators.
78% business leaders said that businesses should contribute more toward comprehensive educator preparation.
Building coalitions between private businesses and schools would create more opportunities for schools to get the resources they need.
More companies should offer year-round discounts to educators—similar to those provided to military, veterans, and senior citizens.
Offering educators private, affordable housing subsidies (i.e., workforce housing) near the schools where they teach would encourage educators to remain in the same schools/school districts for longer than a year.
Private businesses should help fund affordable housing to essential, public-sector employees such as educators.
Solving the educator shortage is everyone’s responsibility. America’s business leaders agree: 87% believe adults in their community could do more to positively impact young students’ learning and academic development. Some ways you can do your part include:
Addressing this crisis will take all of us, working together, to move education forward while ensuring every child has the people and resources they need for a bright future.