MADISON —State Superintendent Tony Evers is engaging stakeholders from around Wisconsin to identify and propose solutions that help school districts address critical staff shortages. The work is being guided by the Professional Standards Council (PSC), the statutorily constructed group tasked with assisting and advising the state superintendent in improving teacher preparation, licensure, and regulation.
“The educator workforce shortage is one of the most critical public policy issues facing our state,” Evers said. “We must look for long- and short term solutions, identify what is driving shortages in Wisconsin and nationally, and search for actionable steps that can bring our schools and educators relief. Well-trained educational staff are critical partners in our work to prepare our kids for college and career.”
The PSC is developing a strategic plan aimed at attracting people to the profession; preparing them for work; and developing, supporting, and retaining them through their careers. Development of the plan began earlier this year by collecting information from school districts regarding existing shortages. That information is being reviewed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and used by the PSC as they develop the strategic plan. Currently the PSC is coordinating efforts to collect information for the strategic plan from educator preparation programs, professional organizations, and educators. Once final, the state superintendent will engage the education community in reviewing the strategic plan and soliciting recommendations for implementation to ensure the quality of Wisconsin’s teaching workforce.
In addition, Evers convened a working group this spring to identify the most pressing staffing problems facing Wisconsin schools and to recommend administrative policy changes that could help immediately. The working group of 10 members was comprised of school district administrators, principals, and former Teachers of the Year. As a result of their work, the department plans to advance an administrative rules package and update agency policies and practices to implement the consensus strategies the group identified. Additional changes recommended by the working group and those from the members of the PSC will be evaluated further.
“More work is needed from our partners across the state — including our parents, educators, administrators, school board members, and lawmakers — to address the deeper, systemic problems we are experiencing around critical staffing shortages,” continued Evers. “Ensuring our kids have access to great schools rests on ensuring those schools have great staff.”