Can Immigrant Professionals Help Reduce Teacher Shortages in the U.S.?

World Education Services
Date of Publication: 
November, 2018
Source Organization: 
World Education Services

Can Immigrant Professionals Help Reduce Teacher Shortages in the U.S.? looks at the challenge of teacher shortages facing public schools across the U.S., and the role that internationally educated and trained immigrant and refugee professionals can play in addressing these shortages. The discussion focuses in particular on “alternative teacher certification” initiatives that seek to attract a diverse group of career changers and subject matter experts into the classroom—immigrant professionals among them. The report also offers policy recommendations at the local, state, and federal levels that would help advance such efforts, and support the development of a skilled and diverse teacher workforce that meets the needs of increasingly diverse schools.

At a national level, the supply of teachers has remained stable in recent years—however, at the state and local level, school districts have been wrestling with long-standing teacher shortages in a number of specific fields, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects; career and technical education (CTE); bilingual education; and special education. Schools and students in low-income and minority neighborhoods often face particularly significant challenges in terms of recruiting and retaining teachers in hard-to-staff subjects.

In a country that is increasingly diverse and an economy that is increasingly dependent on STEM training and technical skills, there is widespread recognition of the pressing need to address critical gaps in the supply of teachers by subject and by school. Strategies proposed for addressing these shortages include strengthening the student pipeline into traditional teacher preparation programs; expansion of financial aid and other incentives; and improved teacher salaries and professional development opportunities.

In recent years, alternative teacher certification programs have become another important tool in thebattery of policies that states, school districts, and the federal government are employing to fill gapsin critical areas and to grow and sustain a trained and committed educational workforce.

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World Education Services. (2018). Can Immigrant Professionals Help Reduce Teacher Shortages in the U.S.? Available at