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Educator Equity Efforts Moving Forward in Missouri

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 14:46

The State Board of Education today heard an update on efforts to ensure that all students in Missouri public schools have access to excellent teachers in every subject. Missouri has developed strategies to address teacher workforce quality and diversity, recruitment and retention, and training and support to increase the number of teachers and leaders in challenging geographic or subject areas.

Over the past seven months, Department staff and educational partners have begun to formulate strategies in the following areas:

  • Teacher recruitment – Encouraging high school students to consider an education career, offering special scholarship programs, and implementing “grow your own” teacher recruitment programs are some of the ways districts are working to recruit teachers in shortage areas.
  • Innovative educator preparation – Schools within the University of Missouri system, the University of Central Missouri and Missouri State University are examples of innovative teacher instruction.
  • Equity labs – Districts from urban, suburban and rural areas have met to discuss the challenges of providing educational equity and to develop strategies to meet the need.

“Every child deserves a great teacher,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “There are school districts in Missouri that are struggling to attract and retain excellent educators. We are moving forward to help districts fill the gaps.”

A shortage is defined as a student having a 20 percent chance or higher of being taught by an under-qualified teacher in a given subject. According to data reported by the districts to the Department, there are 16 counties that lack qualified teachers in at least 10 certification areas.  Another 43 counties lack qualified teachers in 5-9 subjects.

Missouri was one of the first states to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education last year for its plan to address educator equity, especially in high-poverty, high-minority or rural districts. The U.S. Department of Education highlighted Missouri’s plan in three areas: preparing educators, identifying critical shortages, and supporting principals and school leaders.