Raise the Bar Policy Brief:

Raise the Bar Policy Brief:

Eliminating Educator Shortages through Increased Compensation, High-Quality and Affordable Educator Preparation and Teacher Leadership

July 2023

A robust, well-prepared, and sustainable educator workforce is essential to teaching and supporting our children and youth, including their recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many states and school districts face significant hurdles in attracting and retaining the educators and other school staff they need to best support students. These staffing challenges disproportionately impact Black and Latino students and schools with large populations of these students, students with disabilities, and English learners.1 Through Raise the Bar: Lead the World, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) is working in partnership with states and school districts to eliminate educator shortages in our nation’s schools.

Research continually shows that teachers are the most important in-school factor for student success. Yet today’s teacher shortage has been years in the making, and the pandemic made things worse—especially for underserved schools and districts. Raise the Bar: Lead the World employs a research-based strategy to improve and address the teacher shortage, including steps to recruit and retain high-quality teachers through Agency, Better Working Conditions, and Competitive Salaries.

Teachers are experts in the science of learning, and state and local leaders play a large role in ensuring that educators’ voices inform policies and are woven into how schools work. Teachers must have agency and empowerment to make decisions that are right for their students, working in partnership with families. A core driver to retaining teachers in the profession relates to improving the working conditions in their schools and classrooms. This not only means stronger school infrastructure, but also sufficient planning time to learn collaboratively with their peers, strong induction, career ladders, and great professional learning. Competitive salaries are also essential to retaining great teachers. On average, teachers earn 24 percent less than other college graduates.2 As of 2021-2022, 35 states start their teachers with a salary less than $45,000. Sixteen states had starting salaries below $40,0003.

Building on these ABCs, the Department is advancing and has called on state and local leaders to utilize five key policy levers to Raise the Bar and eliminate educator shortages: increase compensation, expand access to high-quality and affordable educator preparation programs, promote career advancement and leadership opportunities for educators, provide high-quality new teacher induction and job-embedded professional learning throughout educators’ careers, and increase educator diversity. This policy brief outlines recent Department efforts to support the first three of these strategies. It highlights progress made since U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called on states last year to take key actions to address shortages, shares new data on the recovery of education jobs by state, and notes states’ progress implementing key strategies to address shortages, including increasing compensation, increasing enrollment in educator preparation programs, and, in collaboration with U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), expanding Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers.

The Department will issue an additional brief later this year on its work to increase the diversity of our educator workforce and to address particularly high-need shortages areas, including bilingual education, special education, and career and technical education. This work is woven throughout the Department’s initiatives to address educator shortages.

Returning to and Exceeding Pre-Pandemic Staffing Levels

From February to May 2020, communities lost 730,000 local public education jobs due to the pandemic—a 9 percent decline in local public education employment—including teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, and other critical staff. As of June 2023, local public education employment has increased by 635,000 jobs since its low point in May 2020.

As a result, there are now only 1.2 percent fewer individuals working in local public education than before the pandemic.

This is good news. However, there are still 95,000 fewer public education employees supporting our students compared to pre-pandemic levels, and recovery of these jobs has varied significantly from state to state. 4

The pandemic’s impact specifically on the number of public school teachers lagged the decline in total staffing, as has job recovery. In May 2020, there were only 88,400 fewer teachers compared to pre-pandemic levels, but by February 2022, the number of teachers had dropped by 283,000, or 7.3 percent, relative to pre-pandemic staffing levels. While the recovery of teachers has been slower than the return in local public education employment levels, there has been significant progress here as well. As of May 2023, relative to the February 2022 low point, there are 198,300 more teachers. As a result, there are now only 2.2 percent fewer teachers relative to pre-pandemic staffing levels.5 This however does not mean that all new teachers added are fully certified or teaching in their certification area. Ensuring all students have access to a high-quality, fully certified teacher must continue to be a priority for all states.

According to data from the October 2022 School Pulse Panel survey, vacancies disproportionately impact schools in high-poverty neighborhoods and schools with a higher percentage of students of color. Specifically, the School Pulse Panel data finds that a larger percentage of public schools in high-poverty neighborhoods had at least one teaching vacancy (57 percent) compared to public schools in low-poverty neighborhoods (41 percent). A larger percentage of public schools with a high proportion of students of color (greater than 75 percent) had at least one teaching vacancy (60 percent) compared to schools with a low proportion of students of color (25 percent or less students of color; 32 percent, respectively).6 

The map below reflects the progress of each state in returning to pre-pandemic staffing levels in local public education employment, displaying the percent change in total local public education jobs in each state relative to pre-pandemic staffing levels in that state. The map focuses on total local public education staffing for several reasons. First, the ability of schools to address the needs of students – whether academic, health, nutrition, transportation, or other needs – requires sufficient staffing in all roles. As a result, the Department focuses on all local public education jobs in its work to support recovery. Second, data limitations prevent the timely analysis of staffing levels at the state level for teachers. Analyzing the recovery of all local public education jobs allows the Department to see how recovery has varied across states.

A positive number on the map below indicates that local education employment exceeds its pre-pandemic level in that state, while a negative number reflects how depleted local education employment is relative to the pre-pandemic period. For example, local government education employment in Kentucky is down 3.5 percent as compared to pre-pandemic, while local government education employment in Texas is 2.9 percent below pre-pandemic levels. All calculations are adjusted for changes in the population of children ages 5 to 17 in the state in the same time period.7 This map shows the significant variations across the country in the recovery of these critical roles.

Fig. 1: Progress Toward Returning to Pre-Pandemic Staffing Levels
(download data as a spreadsheet)

The recovery and stabilization of local public education jobs has been supported by the $122 billion in American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds and previous rounds of relief funding. According to one independent analysis of districts’ plans for using ARP ESSER funds, 60 percent of districts’ plans include funding for staffing, and include investments of roughly $30 billion towards this need, or 27 percent of the ARP ESSER funds awarded to districts.8

While it is critical that schools return to pre-pandemic staffing levels, states, districts, and schools should work to surpass them. The pandemic exacerbated pre-existing shortages – schools were short an estimated 100,000 teachers before the pandemic – and as a result, returning to pre-pandemic staffing levels is not sufficient to ensure that schools can address the needs of students.9 The Department is working not only to return to pre-pandemic staffing levels but also to ensure all students have access to the educators, specialized instructional support personnel, and other school staff they need to meet their academic, social, and emotional needs, including their mental health and well-being. Schools are already exceeding pre-pandemic staffing levels in certain roles. For example, compared with the pre-pandemic period, as of June 2023, the number of school social workers is up 39 percent, and the number of school nurses is up 26 percent.10 Continued investments of ARP ESSER funds and the $1 billion in Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) funds dedicated to strengthening the pipeline and increasing the number of school-based mental health services providers are designed to further increase the number of these staff in the months and years ahead.11


Increasing teacher compensation is critical to effectively recruiting and retaining the teachers that schools need. One of the most common reasons educators cite for leaving their jobs is insufficient pay, along with stress. Seventy percent of school leaders agree increased salaries would improve teacher retention.12 Teachers earn 24 percent less than comparable college graduates, a pay gap that has grown over time. From 1996 to 2021, weekly wages for public school teachers, adjusted for inflation, increased by $29, in comparison to an increase of $445 in similar professions requiring a college education.13 This pay disparity is even more pronounced for career and technical education (CTE) and science, technology, engineering and math, including computer science (STEM/CS) teachers, where jobs outside of education often pay substantially more. As a result, pursuing careers outside of education is increasingly more lucrative, both for current educators and those considering entering the profession. President Biden has consistently called on states and districts to increase teacher pay, both to ensure teachers are treated with dignity and respect and as a critical measure for addressing educator shortages. Amplifying this call, last year, Secretary Cardona called on every state to increase teacher compensation as a key lever for addressing shortages.

The below map highlights average teacher starting salaries and top salaries, according to district salary schedules, as well as average teacher pay overall in each state, as of the 2021-2022 school year. The salary levels included in the map only reflect salaries at the time of data collection and do not include planned changes not yet fully implemented (such as salary increases phased in over multiple years) or take into account variation in the cost-of-living from state to state. The map highlights with a star the states that have taken action at the state level to increase teacher salaries since and inclusive of 2021-2022.

Since 2021-2022, 29 states and the District of Columbia have taken concrete steps at the state or system level to increase compensation.

This is significant progress and does not include broader efforts by school districts to increase teacher compensation. While the stars in the map below highlight action at the state level to increase compensation, some states do not set teacher salaries, leaving all decisions related to compensation to the local level. As a result, even widespread increases in compensation at the district level in such states (increasing average teacher salaries) would not result in a star. The Department encourages Governors, state legislators, members of boards of education, superintendents, and leaders at all levels to work together and think creatively about how they can support school districts in increasing compensation, consistent with collective bargaining rights, so that educators are paid competitively and students have the high-quality educators they need and deserve.

Fig.2: Teacher Compensation by State, 2021-2022
(download data as a spreadsheet)

Please note that there are 3 views of this dashboard. Click the link below to view and filter.

Link: Teacher Compensation 2021-2022 Tableau Dashboard

In addition to increasing base salaries, many states and districts are increasing wages by offering hiring and retention bonuses, including by using ARP ESSER funds, which can be a high-leverage strategy for addressing shortages in the short term. However, permanent base salary increases are the most direct way to address the underlying and long-term compensation challenges the profession faces.

High-Quality and Affordable Educator Preparation

To expand high-quality and affordable educator preparation, the Department; DOL; states; districts; and elementary, secondary, and higher education leaders and experts are continuing to come together to increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the classroom.

Despite declines in previous years, annual total enrollment in educator preparation programs increased by 7 percent from 2018-19 to 2020-2021, an increase of more than 41,000 enrollees.

However, these changes in enrollment have varied widely by state and type of program. The chart below shows changes in enrollment over time by state and for enrollment in traditional educator preparation programs, alternative programs based at an institution of higher education, and alternative programs not based at an institution of higher education. Traditional teacher preparation programs are usually bachelor’s or master’s degree programs at institutions of higher education that students complete prior to becoming the teacher of record.14 Alternative teacher preparation programs primarily serve candidates that are the teacher of record in a classroom while participating in the route.15 The size of any change in enrollment should be considered in the context of individual states’ educator shortages. States with greater pre- and post-pandemic shortages will have greater needs to increase educator preparation program enrollment than states with less significant shortages. As they work to increase enrollment in educator preparation programs, states are encouraged to focus on high-quality programs that include robust clinical experience before teaching candidates become the teacher of record.

Fig. 3: Educator Preparation Program Enrollment, Acedemic Year 2018-2019 to 2020-2021
(download data as a spreadsheet)

In order to continue increasing the pipeline of teachers entering the profession, the Department is working to reduce and eliminate barriers to becoming a teacher while upholding and improving quality. These efforts include broadening the pool of individuals eligible to become a teacher by expanding access to affordable pathways into the profession. When deciding whether to pursue teaching as a career, prospective teaching candidates consider the required preparation program costs, current income, and expected future earnings. Too many prospective teachers decide that limited future earnings as a teacher make the costs of becoming a teacher not worth the investment, compared to other career options with lower barriers to entry and higher pay. Improving affordability is particularly important for attracting and retaining diverse educators, as students of color are more likely to incur higher debt during their studies.16 To address these barriers, the Department is working to directly reduce the ultimate out-of-pocket cost of preparation programs and supporting the creation of more affordable and high-quality options. These efforts are designed to “change the math” and encourage more individuals to become teachers.

Expanding Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 Teachers

The Department has partnered with DOL and leading education organizations to advance high-quality and affordable teacher preparation through the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship for K-12 teachers. Registered Apprenticeship can be an effective, high-quality “earn and learn” model that allows candidates to earn their teaching credential while earning a salary by combining coursework with structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences with a mentor teacher, combined with coursework. Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers can be used to establish, scale, and build on existing high-quality pathways into teaching that emphasize classroom-based experience, such as grow your own and teacher residency programs. By reducing the cost of earning a license and offering flexible scheduling, Registered Apprenticeship Programs are designed to open the doors to the profession to those who may otherwise face barriers, including people of color and individuals such as paraprofessionals who may already have decades of experience in the classroom, but previously could not afford to become a teacher. Once registered with DOL or their state apprenticeship agency (requirements vary by state), these programs can access federal workforce funding, like Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) funding, in addition to other federal, state, and local education and workforce funds, bringing additional resources to help address educator shortages.

Last August, Secretary Cardona and then-Labor Secretary Marty Walsh issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter calling on all states to establish Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers in order to help eliminate educator shortages and outlined how states and other interested parties can learn more about this model. In addition, key partners, including representatives of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), joined both Secretaries and the First Lady at the White House to announce that they would also work to support the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers. Since then, these organizations have engaged with their membership to share resources from both Departments and spread awareness of the opportunity Registered Apprenticeship provides for expanding high-quality and affordable teacher preparation, while advancing teacher diversity.

At the start of 2022, just two states had Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers. Today, teacher apprenticeship programs have been approved in 21 states.

The map below highlights the states with these innovative programs.17 This map does not include additional states that have announced plans to create an apprenticeship, or who are piloting similar programs, but which do not yet have a Registered Apprenticeship Program for K-12 teachers.18

Fig. 4: Registered Apprenticeships for K-12 Teachers, 2023
(download data as a spreadsheet)

As a result of efforts by the Department; DOL; and state, district, higher education and non-profit leaders in recent months, this growth is expected to continue in the years ahead. On July 27, DOL announced the approval of the first National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (NGS) for Registered Apprenticeships for K-12 teachers. The NGS provide a quality framework for states creating a Registered Apprenticeship Program for K-12 teachers. The guidelines were drafted by the Pathways Alliance, a coalition of leading education organizations, including AACTE, NEA, AFT, Learning Policy Institute (LPI), National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), National Center for Grow Your Own (NCGYO), National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR), and other leading organizations.19 While voluntary, the NGS can provide a pathway for expedited approval of the teacher apprenticeship model, helping states, districts, institutions of higher education, and other apprenticeship sponsors align their programs to quality standards that meet federal requirements for Registered Apprenticeship Programs. To learn more about the NGS, see these resources from the Pathways Alliance. For additional DOL resources on teacher apprenticeship, see here.

The Department also worked with DOL and the White House to highlight to leaders of state education and workforce agencies, as well as state union leaders, the opportunity for states to apply to DOL for State Apprenticeship Expansion funds, which included education as a priority sector. These funds can support Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers through both annual formula funding and additional competitive awards. As a result of these efforts, through these funding opportunities, 35 states and territories will target the education sector, along with other priority sectors, as part of their annual formula funds, up from only a handful of states in previous years. This includes five states – Kansas, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and New Hampshire – that received additional DOL competitive funding totaling nearly $25 million to support Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for teachers and in other in-demand sectors. Examples of key investments in apprenticeship programs for teachers include the following:

  • Kansas (formula and competitive funding): The Kansas Department of Education is using federal apprenticeship funds to work with current teachers and district administrators, the Kansas Board of Regents, the Kansas Association of Private Colleges of Teacher Education and other educator preparation programs, the Kansas National Education Association, the Kansas Teachers of the Year, the Kansas Association of School Personnel Administrators, and the United School Administrators of Kansas to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program for K-12 teachers. Kansas will develop this program as a four-year competency-based apprenticeship, where the apprentice will receive training in a classroom while pursuing a bachelor’s degree within a teacher preparation program. The program will have a particular focus on recruiting apprentices who are first generation college students from underserved populations in frontier, rural, and urban areas.
  • North Dakota (formula and competitive funding): North Dakota Department of Public Instruction will run an annual Request for Proposal, offering 7 to 13 grants of $100,000 each year, in partnership with local school districts to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program for K-12 teachers. The state is partnering with North Dakota United, North Dakota’s largest public educators’ union and an official affiliate of both the AFT and the NEA. Grant funds will allow North Dakota to expand paraprofessional-to-teacher apprenticeship programs, which allow special education paraprofessionals who aspire to be educators to remain employed as full-time paraprofessionals and complete their degree program with a participating university. North Dakota will utilize grant funds to “seed” apprenticeship programs and establish statewide administrative infrastructure, as well as greatly scale apprenticeship programs and prioritize pathways that lead to certification in special education. This builds on additional efforts to create robust opportunities for more individuals to enter the education profession as paraprofessionals, teachers, and principals.
  • Utah (formula and competitive funding): Utah will support the establishment of Registered Apprenticeships for K-12 teachers using feedback received directly from teachers. The state has already identified pilot districts and will ensure that the high-quality of Registered Apprenticeship Programs remains consistent statewide. The Utah State Board of Education will be an intermediary and provide a state-level Apprenticeship Specialist to assist with development, implementation, and ongoing technical support. 

The Department of Education is also providing technical assistance to state and local leaders exploring, launching, and implementing Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers:

  • The Department’s National Comprehensive Center launched the Strengthening and Diversifying the Educator Workforce Workgroup, which is bringing together states from across the country to share resources and discuss lessons learned and best practices for supporting the development, recruitment, and retention of a strong and diverse educator workforce. This workgroup, in partnership with the Department of Labor, Jobs for the Future, CCSSO, and leaders of Tennessee’s Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Program, has led a professional learning series for state education, educator preparation, and labor organization leaders on planning, designing, and implementing Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers as a long-term strategy for strengthening and diversifying the teacher workforce. Eighteen states have participated in this learning series. For more information on the work of the Strengthening and Diversifying the Educator Workforce Workgroup, please visit https://compcenternetwork.org/ccnetwork-highlights/topic/7123/educator-workforce.
  • On August 16, the Department will host a Lessons from the Field webinar on the NGS for Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers recently approved by DOL, sharing how states can use them to develop, expand, and monitor the quality of their programs. To register for the webinar or see recordings of previous webinars, please visit the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments.

Reducing the Burden of Student Loan Debt

Reducing the burden of student loan debt increases teachers’ monthly discretionary income, freeing up funds that would have gone to paying off their loans for other purposes, such as saving money to purchase a home, setting aside funds for a child’s education, or putting more money towards retirement. The Department is committed to increasing discretionary income for teachers and other borrowers by ensuring that teachers can take full advantage of loan forgiveness programs from which they can benefit.

The Biden-Harris Administration has taken actions to address challenges with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, resulting in more than 653,000 borrowers, including educators, receiving forgiveness totaling more than $45 billion. Under the PSLF program, after a borrower has made 10 years of qualifying monthly payments while working for a qualifying employer, the remaining balance on a Direct Loan is forgiven. ​Full-time elementary and secondary school teachers and others working in public or private nonprofit schools meet the employment eligibility requirements of PSLF. This program has had transformational impacts on the lives of student loan borrowers, and the Department is encouraging all educators and school employees to take advantage of it.

The Department also implemented changes to TEACH Grants to promote teacher recruitment and retention. TEACH Grants provide up to $4,000 per year to undergraduate and graduate students who are completing or plan to complete coursework needed to become a teacher and commit to teaching in a high-need area. The Department has taken action to make it easier for teachers to successfully participate in this program and avoid improper conversion of grants into loans by providing greater flexibilities and removing process pain points.

Moreover, the Department has finalized regulations (34 CFR 682, 34 CFR 685) creating the most affordable student loan repayment plan ever – the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, which will make income-driven repayment (IDR) more affordable than ever before. The SAVE plan is designed to make student loans more manageable by adjusting monthly payments based on income and family size. These changes would halve monthly payments on undergraduate loans, in comparison to other IDR plans, and protect income required for payments for individual borrowers earning up to $30,600, so their payments would be $0. These regulations would not only dramatically cut or eliminate monthly payments for some school staff but also reduce the total amount paid by an estimated $17,000 (or roughly $140 a month) for a typical teacher working toward PSLF.

On July 14, the Department announced that it was notifying more than 804,000 borrowers that they have a total of $39 billion in Federal student loans that will be automatically discharged thanks to actions by the Department to address historical inaccuracies in the count of payments that qualify toward forgiveness under IDR plans. The Department will continue to identify and notify borrowers who reach the applicable forgiveness thresholds (240 or 300 qualifying monthly payments, depending on their repayment plan and type of loan) every two months until next year, when all borrowers who are not yet eligible for forgiveness will have their payment counts updated.

By significantly reducing the burden of student loan debt and thereby increasing discretionary income for teachers, these actions can make becoming a teacher a more viable option for many more people and support the retention of current teachers. Because of the disparate experiences with education debt for teachers of color, relative to other populations, these efforts are poised to help increase teacher diversity and support a stronger pipeline and the retention of educators of color.20

Promoting High-Quality and Affordable Educator Preparation Programs

The Department is also working to address barriers to entering the profession by expanding access to high-quality, comprehensive, and affordable teacher preparation with robust clinical experience aligned to coursework. There is growing evidence that teacher preparation programs that incorporate significant on the job training through clinical experiences that are tightly integrated with rigorous and relevant coursework, such as residency programs, have the potential to meaningfully improve student achievement and teacher retention.21

On July 27, the Department awarded $14.5 million in new awards to 27 grantees through Teacher Quality Partnership Grants. These awards are intended to improve the quality of prospective and new teachers by improving educator preparation programs and supports for new teachers. For example, one project recruits diverse teacher residents for rigorous, graduate coursework leading to a master’s degree and certification in shortage subject areas; engages diverse candidates in full-time, year-long clinical placements in high-need rural schools with exemplary, trained mentor teachers; and develops and implements induction supports that complement district induction programs to retain program completers in high-needs schools.

In May, the Department offered multiple grant funding opportunities to support preparation of personnel to improve services for children with disabilities, including:

These grant opportunities build on the first-ever Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program grants, which were awarded in December of 2022, and in February and May of this year, awarding a total of $23.1 million to 15 grantees. The Hawkins grants are designed to increase high-quality teacher preparation programs for teachers of color, strengthen the diversity of teacher pipeline programs, and address teacher shortages through investments in educator preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other Minority Serving Institutions with a state-accredited teacher preparation program.

Additionally, in March, the Department released guidance on the use of Perkins V funds to improve the recruitment, preparation, retention, and growth of future educators – including but not limited to career and technical educators. This guidance describes how Perkins V funds can serve as a flexible resource that may be used strategically by states, districts, and community colleges to strengthen the pipeline of educators, including specialized instructional support personnel. The Department awards approximately $1.43 billion annually in state formula grants authorized under Perkins V. States may use up to 10 percent of their allocations to carry out state leadership activities, including recruiting, preparing, or retaining CTE teachers and faculty, as well as educators that teach other subjects. While at least 85 percent of state grant funds must be allocated by formula to districts and postsecondary educational institutions, a state may reserve up to 15 percent of those funds to foster innovative and promising CTE programs or promote programs of study and career pathways that are aligned with state-identified high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations or industries (e.g., educators).

Career Advancement and Teacher Leadership

In addition to developing and supporting new teachers, the Department is promoting career advancement and leadership opportunities that allow teachers to grow professionally and earn additional compensation, while remaining in the classroom. This includes, for example, distributive leadership models that support teachers’ leadership alongside their principal and other school leaders to facilitate positive schoolwide change; teacher-led instructional improvement efforts focused on specific areas of academic content; opportunities to shape schoolwide policies and climate and lead professional learning communities; programs for master-teachers who support the development of other educators, teacher mentorship programs, and job-embedded content coaching; and the implementation of advisory systems. With the appropriate supports, such as release time and additional compensation for additional responsibilities, teacher leadership and advancement can support improved student outcomes and teacher recruitment and retention.

On July 27, the Department awarded $12.7 million in Supporting Effective Educator Development funds to 8 grantees to support the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators. These grants also will enable recipients to develop, expand, and evaluate practices that can serve as models to be sustained, replicated, and scaled and include career advancement opportunities for current teachers. For example, one project will support 150 teacher candidates to complete their final year of teacher preparation working in urban K-8 classrooms, with additional mentoring during their first year of teaching. The teachers of record in those classrooms will be trained by participating faculty as instructional coaches and teacher leaders. Two hundred teachers will participate in the residencies as mentors. Participating faculty will work with mentors on coaching skills and conduct professional learning workshops. By utilizing and supporting current teachers, these models benefit new teachers while providing additional opportunities for veteran teachers to grow and lead.

In May, the Department offered multiple grant funding opportunities to promote teacher excellence, career ladders, and compensation, including Teacher and School Leader Incentive grants, Education Innovation and Research grants, and Native American Teacher Retention Initiative grants.

  • The Teacher and School Leader Incentive program will award $95 million to support career advancement opportunities for educators, as well as make educator evaluation and support systems fair, reliable, and credible; conducive to enhancing educator growth and advancement; and likely to support improved student outcomes.
  • The Education Innovation and Research program, which provides Early-phase, Mid-phase, and Expansion grants, will award $273 million to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale evidence-based innovations to improve student achievement. The Early-phase competition includes opportunities for projects that will prioritize strengthening the educator workforce, such as activities that involve innovation in recruiting and retaining educators. It also includes a competitive preference priority for projects that promote an effective and diverse educator workforce by providing teachers a competitive wage and opportunities for advancement and leadership.
  • The Native American Teacher Retention program will award $2.75 million to support projects designed to improve educational opportunities and achievement of Indian children and youth, which may include activities intended to retain Native American educators and provide important support for Native American teachers, including through teacher leadership models that include increased compensation.

For more information on how the Department is continuing to elevate the teaching profession and eliminate the educator shortage, and specific strategies for state and local leaders, please visit Raise the Bar: Boldly Improve Learning Conditions.

1  Goldhaber, D. & Gratz, T. (2021). School District Staffing Challenges in a Rapidly Recovering Economy. CEDR Flash Brief No. 11082021-1. University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Sutcher, L., Darling-Hammond, L., & Carver-Thomas, D. (2016). A coming crisis in teaching? Teacher supply, demand, and shortages in the U.S. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute; and Cardichon, J., Darling-Hammond, L., Yang, M., Scott, C., Shields, P. M., & Burns, D. (2020). Inequitable opportunity to learn: Student access to certified and experienced teachers. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.

2  Allegretto, S. “The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high.” Economic Policy Institute, 16 Aug. 2022, https://www.epi.org/publication/teacher-pay-penalty-2022.

3  See map, “Teacher Compensation 2021-2022.”

4  Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Department of Labor; Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National); available at https://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm (visited June 14, 2023).

5  Sources: Current Population Survey; President’s Council of Economic Advisers calculations.

6  U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, School Pulse Panel, October 2022; available at https://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/press_releases/12_6_2022.asp#:~:text=As%20of%20October%202022%2C%204,percent%20had%20multiple%20teaching%20vacancies (visited July 13, 2023).

7  For cross-state comparisons, the map displays 12-month averages of local public education employment to account for seasonality and small samples at the state level. Job recovery data for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico is not included due to data limitations.

9  Carver-Thomas, D. (2022). Teacher shortages take center stage. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute, https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/blog/teacher-shortages-take-center-stage.

10  Sources: Current Population Survey; President’s Council of Economic Advisers calculations.

11  For more information on Administration efforts to increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, please see Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Tackle Nation's Mental Health Crisis and the Department’s Raise the Bar site.

12  Diliberti, M. K., et al. “Stress Topped the Reasons Why Teachers Quit, Even Before COVID-19.” RAND Corporation, 22 Feb. 2021, https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1121-2.html; and Loewus, L. “Why Teachers Leave—or Don’t: A Look at the Numbers.” EducationWeek, 04 March 2021. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/why-teachers-leave-or-dont-a-look-at-the-numbers/2021/05.

13  Allegretto, S. “The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high.” Economic Policy Institute, 16 Aug. 2022, https://www.epi.org/publication/teacher-pay-penalty-2022.

14  National Research Council. (2010). Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy. Washington, D.C: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/12882.

15  State Report Card reporting instrument. Title II Higher Education Act Technical Assistance. Retrieved July 24, 2023, from https://title2.ed.gov/Public/TA.aspx.  

16  Steiner, E. D., et al. “Prioritizing Strategies to Racially Diversify the K-12 Teacher Workforce.” RAND Corporation, 2022, https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1108-6.html.

17  D.C. and Puerto Rico are not displayed on the map and do not have Registered Apprenticeship programs for teachers.

18  A program registered with the federal Office of Apprenticeship or the state’s State Apprenticeship Agency. For additional detail, see https://www.apprenticeship.gov/about-us/apprenticeship-system.

19  Additional Pathways Alliance working group members include the Arizona State University (ASU), Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6 (CESA6), Deans for Impact, InnovateEDU, Inspire Texas, Prepared to Teach, Substantial, and TeachMe Education.

20  Steiner, E. D., et al. “Prioritizing Strategies to Racially Diversify the K-12 Teacher Workforce.” RAND Corporation, 2022, https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1108-6.html.

21  Institute of Education Sciences, “New Findings on the Retention of Novice Teachers from Teaching Residency Programs.” August 2015, https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20154015/pdf/20154015.pdf; and Papay, J. P., West, M. R., Fullerton, J. B., and Kane, T. J. (2012). Does an urban teacher residency increase student achievement? Early evidence from Boston. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 34(4), 413–434.