Can partnerships between public schools, universities help address the teacher shortage?
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
21.4% of U.S. teachers earn less in wages than comparable workers.
60% took on additional work during the 2015-2016 school year (latest available data) to supplement inadequate compensation. The number increased from 55.6% during the 2011-2012 school year.
The Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) recent paper on teacher shortages states that the crisis is growing worse than ever in America.
The real magnitude of the teacher shortage is even scarier when one considers the scarcity of credentialed teachers, more so in rural and low-income areas.
Not all teachers are fully certified or experienced in their field of study. There is a lot of talk about this shortage and ways to tackle it, but little action is taken. This is harming education quality and the public education system as a whole.
Lack of funds, resources, and ineffective policies have led to high teacher turnover and severely reduced teachers' effectiveness. Yes, teachers are protesting, but that's not enough, nor is it a positive sign for the nation. We need to take collective and effective action.
One ray of hope comes from new school-university partnerships that aim to prepare future teachers by giving them real-life experience and, in the process, help fill funding gaps. One such example is the partnership between Ohio University and some of the state's school districts. The mutually beneficial collaboration began with the idea of providing university students, who are called "teacher candidates," with real experience.
The program has now made it easier for participating schools to offer after-school assistance with homework, reading intervention programs, tutoring, and other services, like Kids on Campus programs. Now kids can once again enjoy individualized instruction and better learning opportunities.
The partnerships between public schools and institutions of higher learning are excellent examples of creative and intelligent solutions. As more teachers quit and the curriculum grows, it is these partnerships that can bridge the knowledge and performance gaps for K-12 students.
Currently, K-12 teachers need to complete some form of specialized training after high school, but preferably a four-year college or university experience as well. University students who are considering careers in education are already halfway there. These new strategies can help them gain valuable real-life learning experiences and provide a better pathway to higher learning.
These educational collaborations will address STEM, STEAM, and dual-learning instruction, which is suffering in many areas. Districts feel that these new partnerships will also improve student access to health education and medical care, which have suffered from the budget cuts, too.
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