For any labor market to function properly, clear information is needed to guide decision making; its absence invariably leads to less than optimal decisions and inefficiencies. While the broader labor market is riddled with imperfect information, the teacher labor market is particularly vulnerable—largely for the lack of the most basic information.
In a new analysis from NCTQ, the latest edition in the State of the States series reviewing states’ teacher policies, researchers examine the essential role of state education agencies in collecting and reporting information about their own teacher labor markets in the following areas:
- Teacher Shortages and Surpluses
- Teacher Retention and Mobility
- Equitable Distribution of the Teacher Workforce
When it comes to informing the teacher labor market, states have a unique vantage point that allows them to illuminate the inequities and inefficiencies of local labor markets through timely, accurate, and sufficiently disaggregated data, as well as making connections that individual stakeholder (i.e., policy makers, teacher preparation program or district leaders, hiring managers, school administrators) cannot.
Following is some guidance to drive state investments in teacher supply and data systems:
- Publish on the state education agency’s website the data already collected in order to comply with federal Title II reporting, addressing the new teacher supply, by institution and at the certification level. Currently 18 states do not do so.
- Report not only on the current teacher workforce, but also on vacancies at the district level, as well as certification area. Currently only 16 states do both.
- Connect new teacher supply data with vacancy data in order to identify the gaps between supply and demand and publish this data in a format that is accessible and actionable to decision makers. This is the data necessary for informing both shortages and surpluses, and currently only two states do so (Colorado and Illinois).
- Consider a unified human resources system that can pull both statewide supply and demand information from each institution preparing new teachers as a service to job seekers and hiring managers. Currently no state does so but a localized version of this system has been successfully implemented for school principals by a group of Georgia school districts in partnership with a local university as a part of a grant from the Wallace Foundation. The project benefits from a unified information system by leveraging information both from school districts and their higher education partner to identify candidates for educational leadership training, train them, and fill administrative vacancies with the right candidates.
- Collect and publish information on teacher turnover, differentiating between mobility and attrition. The more disaggregated the data, the more specific district administrators can be with their retention policies. Currently seven states report on both mobility and attrition.
- Not only report on the size of the current teacher workforce, but also collect and publish data on other teacher characteristics by school, such as percentage of teachers not fully credentialed, teacher race and gender, teachers teaching out of field, years of experience, and most importantly levels of effectiveness. Currently 13 states do so.
For more information and exemplars in each recommendation area, see: https://www.nctq.org/publications/State-of-the-States-2021:-State-Reporting-of-Teacher-Supply-and-Demand-Data