JerseyCAN is producing this multi-report series to assess the state of our educator workforce and identify policy opportunities that can inform an action plan for our future workforce. This first report provides a snapshot of our current public school educator workforce and the supply and demand challenges we face. The report culminates with initial policy recommendations that can help us to become more responsive to the educational and economic crisis we now face and, ultimately, to build a stronger pipeline for the future of education in New Jersey.

 

What does the report look at and discuss?

Part One of the Educator Workforce Series shares detailed demographic information about New Jersey’s educator workforce prior to the global pandemic. Data from the report demonstrates that the educator pipeline is not being informed by school district needs such as open positions, anticipated vacancies and new positions due to shifts in student enrollment or student demographics. Part One of the series:

  • provides a foundation of information to understand the current state of New Jersey’s educator workforce;
  • highlights the mismatch between the  supply of teachers and the hiring demands of school districts; and
  • makes six policy recommendations to better inform and increase the supply of educators and the groundwork to become an agile education system equipped to respond to times of crisis.

What are some key takeaways from the first report?

  • Teacher Supply:  The supply of teachers prepared in New Jersey is declining and teacher and student demographics do not match.
    • In-state preparation of teachers has dropped by 18% from 2013-2016.  During that time:
      • 10,700 new teachers have been prepared in traditional educator  programs.
      • 8,800 new teachers have been prepared in alternate route programs.
    • Currently, 84% of our teacher workforce is White, compared to 43% of our students.
      • In 2018, the NJDOE reported that teachers with zero to four years of experience are 78.6% White compared to 85.5% of teachers with five or more years of experience.
      • Research demonstrates that students of color taught by at least one teacher of color in grades K-5 have increased graduation rates and test scores.
  • Teacher Demand:  New Jersey does not collect or report district demand or open position data; however, we do know that:
    • The New Jersey Department of Education has confirmed teacher shortage areas in Science, Math, Bilingual, English as a Second Language, World Languages and CTE.
    • 2018 NJ CEAS Educator Preparation Provider Reports reports show the content areas with the some of the highest teacher employment rates statewide were: Technology, Physics, Bilingual, World Languages and Biology.
    • Many districts have seen a significant increase in English language learners and these districts are often struggling to provide the bilingual teachers required by law. Last school year, eight New Jersey counties could not meet bilingual teacher requirements for 10 or more of their districts.
  • Vacancies:  Each year many school districts start the school year with teacher vacancies; once the school year starts, it can be very challenging for most districts to find staff.
    • At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, Newark reported 105 open positions, eight of which were newly created Bilingual positions.
    • Camden still had 29 open positions in the fall of the 2019-2020 school year.

 What’s the bottom line?

  • New Jersey needs to use data to drive the future educator workforce.
  • New Jersey’s education sector needs to become more responsive to student needs.
  • New Jersey needs to create the environment for an agile education system that better serves all students.

What’s the solution?

This report offers initial recommendations that could address the most glaring gaps in our current system.

  • RECOMMENDATION 1: Require Local Demand Data from Districts and Annual Educator Workforce Projections
  • RECOMMENDATION 2: Subsidize the Cost of Certification Tests for Shortage Areas
  • RECOMMENDATION 3: Create a Seal of Biliteracy High School Pathway Program for Bilingual and ESL Teachers
  • RECOMMENDATION 4: Create a Co-Certificate Bridge Program for Bilingual Teachers
  • RECOMMENDATION 5: Equip Our Educator Workforce with Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices
  • RECOMMENDATION 6: Establish a Coalition to Define an Agile School System

Part Two of the Educator Workforce Series, which will be released later this summer, will build on the foundation of Report One by outlining a framework for understanding the new needs brought on by COVID-19, as well as recommendations for the smartest approach state leaders can take to create a more agile educator pipeline in this context.

You can read the full report here.

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