Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Teacher Shortage in the United States: Discussion II

{This section of the report discusses solutions to the current teacher shortage in the United States. Some of the proposed solutions have been tried in the past. Some important vocabulary includes the Heritage Foundation and Robert Noyce Scholars Program.}


The results of this research indicate that there are doable solutions to help solve the current teacher shortage in the United States. The research findings are separated into three categories: (a) Collective Bargaining, (b) State Standardized Tests, and (c) Teacher Compensation.

In the Backgrounder, published by the Heritage Foundation, an article “Critical Issues in Assessing Teacher Compensation,” notes that education is an asset to society and that teachers should be compensated for the value they create (Richwine & Biggs, 2012). Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs, authors of “Critical Issues in Assessing Teacher Compensation,” state a possible solution to teacher compensation based on the value of the teacher. Teachers shouldn’t be controlled by a sub-par education plan or state budget plan (Act 10) that strips away a teacher’s ability to be compensated for the work they do. The teacher shortage will be unremitting until teachers are allowed their basic rights.

Act 10 took away a teacher’s ability to fight for what is right (Swalwell et. al., 2017). Bringing back equal rights and benefits to teachers may help support the dwindling teacher population and may encourage potential teachers and teachers-in-training to continue in the profession. The teacher shortage would begin to heal itself. Act 10 will need to be revised and politicians will need to come together to find a logical solution that benefits both parties (teachers and the state). Christian D’Andrea (2013) mentions that Act 10 will be changed in the future. To what extent the changes will be are still unknown, but the proposed solution by Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs (2012) could bring a remedy to the current teacher shortage in the United States.

Solution: State Standardized Tests

The Robert Noyce Scholars Program

Robert Noyce Scholars Program via
Since much of the American public schools are focusing on STEM education and pushing for better science and math state test scores, the National Science Foundation started several projects. One project that would benefit teachers is through the Robert Noyce Scholars program, which is available for teachers to help them get trained in STEM education. The program, as stated in “Commitment to Teach in Under-Resourced Schools: Prospective Science and Mathematics Teachers’ Dispositions,” is to assist teachers in understanding how to give lessons in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to tie-in with Common Core and state standardized tests (Ganchorre & Tomanek, 2012). Athena Ganchorre and Debra Tomanek (2012) note that the Robert Noyce Scholars program is offered in teacher training programs around the United States and may help teachers get their students at the level the state wants them at with state standardized test scores. The program also provides loan forgiveness to teachers committed to teaching science and math in under-resourced schools. With the Robert Noyce Scholars program in place, teachers can have hope that the lessons learned in the program will better help them instruct their students for state standardized tests. The program is creating a future for the education profession in the United States.

Solution: Teacher Compensation

North Carolina and California Solution

Many of the solutions in the 1990s would benefit teachers today. The best solution would be to pay teachers a comparable salary to others in the profession. North Carolina and California have been trying to strengthen the teaching profession by raising minimum salaries for teachers. The two states also offer loan forgiveness programs and scholarships to anyone interested in the teaching profession. The programs work and helped secure new teachers within the public schools but have been slowly taken away because of political and economic pressure (Berry & Shields, 2017).  

Oklahoma Solution

Oklahoma has had a proposal in the works since the 2015-16 school year that provides teachers within the state a $2,000 pay raise and two additional days of instruction. The teachers in Oklahoma will see an increase in their compensation until the 2019-20 school year with an average teacher salary reaching $49,677. The new teacher salary in the 2019-20 school year will be more than $5,300 over the state’s average teacher pay from 2012-13 school year (Oklahoma State Department, 2015).

Combined Solutions

North Carolina, California, and Oklahoma have presented realistic solutions to the problem, but the first solution failed as politics got in the way. Governor Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill—Act 10—started the issues with teacher compensation and rights (D’Andrea, 2013). The proposal in Oklahoma may be the solution for the country if the proposal works. Until the 2019-20 school year, the result of the proposal in Oklahoma won’t be known, but so far, the proposal is working.  

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