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Leading Forward: WI Education Workforce Initiative

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Status of the Profession

Wisconsin schools, like most in the country, struggle with teacher and staff shortages. Fortunately, data indicates the rate of individuals completing educator preparation programs (EPPs) exceeds that of educators retiring. Unfortunately, some data also shows a steady loss of Wisconsin teachers during their first five years of employment. The combination of challenges makes it especially difficult for employers to fill positions in certain content and specialty areas.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is addressing these challenges, looking at:

What are the reasons for staffing challenges in Wisconsin?

How can we work to strengthen and support educators throughout their careers?

Our focus:

  • Analyze data to determine areas of need and focus
  • Collaborate with partners to establish and guide strategies for positive impact throughout the work of attracting, preparing, licensing, recruiting, and ongoing development for retention of educators.
  • Monitor impact of strategies

What Data and Research Tell Us

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) analyzes data from multiple sources to determine needs and impact. Sources include Wisconsin educator preparation program enrollment and completion, testing rates, as well as educator retention, salary, demographics, and retirement information.

Important takeaways from the most recent analysis:

  • The teaching workforce is overwhelmingly white and female.
  • Educator preparation program enrollment remains lower than the levels of 2008-2009 but is higher than in surrounding states.
  • The Foundations of Reading Test (FORT) is a barrier, particularly to teachers of color. Overall FORT passage rates are low at 54 percent for first-time test takers.
  • The degree to which teachers feel prepared coming into the classroom impacts retention.
  • A highly flexible system, with various pathways to licensure, results in more licensed teachers.
  • There is a significant gap between the number of individuals completing an educator preparation program (5,391 in 2021) and those entering the public school workforce (3,618 in 2021).
  • Attrition rates are high. Only 67 percent of teachers remain in the field beyond their first 5 years.

Review details in the latest
Educator Preparation Program and Workforce Analysis Report

Focus on All Stages of Educator Development

Data analysis calls for a comprehensive approach across each point of the development of future and current educators. The ability of schools to recruit and retain quality educators has a strong connection to student achievement.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is focused on strategies in the following areas:

  • Grow a new generation & support career changers ( Attract)
  • Strengthen preparation (Prepare)
  • Advance licensing options (License)
  • Support growth of the workforce across the state and in high-need areas (Recruit)
  • Build effectiveness (Develop)
  • Retain the workforce (Retain)

Questions? Review our Contacts page for the channels with which to direct your inquiry.

References, Research, Resources, and Reports

Check out sources that drive focus areas and strategies on the Resources and Impact page.