Expert Pitch: WVU education experts say each school district needs a different solution to retain and recruit teachers. WVU Today
A student teacher at West Virginia University reads to a student. As the new school year begins, educator staffing is a challenge in many schools, a problem that three university experts can handle.
As the new school year begins, three education professionals from West Virginia University can discuss the ongoing challenges of staffing schools, dubbed the “five crises” by the President of the National Education Association.
Executive Director of the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative, Donna Peduto has held positions with the West Virginia State Board of Education and the State Department of Education, including serving as the state coordinator for West Virginia’s first Innovation Zone initiative.
Matthew Campbell, associate professor of mathematics education at the College of Applied Human Sciences, and Erin McHenry-Sober, associate professor and coordinator of the Higher Education Administration Program at CAHS, focus on rural schools in West Virginia to I have been studying the placement problem of . district, last five years.
“As a former teacher in West Virginia for 23 years in the classroom, I recall what motivated me to stay beyond my love for my students. A supportive principal has encouraged my long tenure.
“National data shows that the more schools invest in teacher leadership opportunities, the higher their retention. used state funding to enable teacher leadership initiatives to be incorporated into strategic plans.
“West Virginia is also tackling supply and demand through locally targeted recruitment. Enrolled in the Grow Your Own West Virginia Pathway to Teaching program, which encourages teaching at the University of California, where students can work in open teaching positions while earning salaries and benefits.” – Donna Peduto, Executive Director, West Virginia Public Education Community
“It is important not to label this problem as a ‘teacher shortage’. It is not a shortage of teachers, it is a shortage of teachers willing to work professionally.
“Not so long ago, it was reasonable to view the decline in new teachers as a bigger problem than teacher retirements and retirements. This is a serious problem: rather than just aiming to encourage and streamline entry into the profession, efforts must be made to retain existing teachers.
“Even a single instance of someone not being prepared or poorly supported to teach a class is a problem. Often schools disproportionately affected by staffing issues have: Higher proportions of students of color and poorer students, the students most in need of a quality education.
“250,899 students enrolled in West Virginia public schools in the 2021-22 school year. It should be easy to see that the problem of teacher placement in places such as Chicago is different from the one we are facing here, but the solutions discussed in West Virginia are often large-scale. derived from urban conditions and yielding questionable results.” – Matthew Campbell, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, Department of Applied Human Sciences
“About half of West Virginia’s schools are in rural areas, but not all rural areas are the same. Other rural schools are located in tourist areas and may be more successful in recruiting graduates.Because of this diversity, statewide policies may be less suitable for targeted solutions. Not effective, some local schools can take advantage of the Grow Your Own initiative, others need a different route.
“Principals and superintendents are desperate to do the best they can for their students, but most of the solutions available to them tend to be short-term solutions to long-term, complex problems. One principal who recently failed to fill a first-grade post had to turn to seven substitutes during the first two months of school, who were not qualified to teach elementary school. He said he was concerned that this scenario would leave students behind and that the effects would be long-lasting.
“As the shortage intensifies, we will be able to take measures such as covering vacant classrooms, teaching larger class sizes, providing support to certified teachers in their place, or other new strains placed on an already challenging workload. It increases the workload for remaining teachers, making it more difficult to retain current teachers.” – Erin McHenry-Sorber, Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Higher Education Administration Program, Department of Applied Human Sciences
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