Teacher Pipeline Workgroup
IEA, Education Stakeholders Tackle a Tough Problem
A large and influential group of education stakeholders developed a series of recommendations aimed at addressing the shortage of certified, qualified teachers in Idaho classrooms, particularly in rural areas and in hard-to-fill positions. The recommendations were formally presented to the Idaho State Board of Education at their December meeting. The Board accepted the workgroup’s non-binding recommendations and will now begin the process of trying to implement them through a combination of Board policy and legislative action.
Noting that Idaho’s preretirement teacher attrition rate is 10% higher than the national average, the workgroup concluded that “retention is clearly the primary issue facing Idaho’s supply of highly effective teachers”. The group also noted that teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities in Idaho produce enough certified teachers to fill a realistic number of open positions in the state, but “until Idaho’s leaky pipeline is addressed, teacher shortages will have a constant presence in our education landscape”.
To combat Idaho’s unacceptable attrition rate, the Teacher Pipeline Workgroup included in its recommendations:
- Higher salaries and compensation packages, including funding the third rung of the Career Ladder Salary Allocation plan. The third rung was designed to provide additional compensation for veteran teachers, but has thus far not been adopted or funded by the legislature.
- Exploring incentives to teach in rural districts. These could include things like loan forgiveness, housing options, hiring bonuses, and scholarships.
- Supporting mentor program standards and exploring innovative mentoring models, training supports and resources.
- Evaluation practices that balance accountability and teacher-driven professional growth with measurable outcomes.
- Developing a mastery-based content specialist program to supplement current alternative authorizations
IEA’s Voice a Part of the Process
The Teacher Pipeline Workgroup was made up of nearly 40 people with a variety of vested interests in Idaho’s public education system, as well as its students and employees. IEA members Sue Darden (West Ada) and Melyssa Ferro (Caldwell) played prominent roles in the group, which also included IEA Presidents Kari Overall and Penni Cyr, as well as Executive Director Sue Wigdorski. The State Board of Education, State Department of Education, Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho School Administrators Association, legislative education committees, and higher education institutions were also represented.
“Recruiting high-quality educators to teach in Idaho classrooms and then keeping them in Idaho classrooms might just be the most important issue that the State Board of Education has tackled in recent years,” says Ferro. “Being part of the Teacher Pipeline Workgroup has been a great opportunity to help open the eyes of administrators and lawmakers about the issues that Idaho teachers are facing. It has been an honor to help the IEA bring a teacher voice to this crucial decision-making process.”
The State Board of Education will now begin working to implement the recommendations from the workgroup, as well as drafting language for those pieces that will require legislative action. “The IEA fully supports the recommendations and is appreciative that an emphasis is finally being placed on such a key component of our public education system—recruiting good teachers and then supporting them so they want to stay in Idaho classrooms,” says IEA President Kari Overall. “We stand ready to assist in the implementation of the important recommendations from the Teacher Pipeline Workgroup.”
Read the full report from the Teacher Pipeline Workgroup at https://boardofed.idaho.gov/meetings/board/archive/2017/1220-2117/PPGA%20Tab%205%20Pipeline%20Report.pdf