In an effort to improve teacher recruitment and retention, results from a series of three focus groups were brought before the Missouri State Board of Education.
The Teacher Workforce Outreach Plan was originally introduced to the State Board of Education in March, with Tuesday serving as the third update. Focus groups convened independently from three key sectors – urban teachers, rural teachers and teacher preparation programs – to discuss issues such as shortages in particular content areas and geographic locations, recruitment of more diverse and male candidates into the profession, and increasing retention rates of teachers already in the field.
While the focus groups shared multiple common themes, one reoccurring topic centered on teacher salaries and how the state of Missouri fared when compared to surrounding states. Missouri’s current national ranking places teachers at a lower average salary level than all eight of Missouri’s bordering states.
“Because teachers are the most important school-based factor in a child’s education, we must continually do everything we can to recruit and retain the very best people into Missouri’s teacher workforce,” said Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Assistant Commissioner for Educator Quality Paul Katnik.
The plan will complete phase one of its work with a parent survey and a student survey by the end of October 2019.