At the 2014 MSBA Delegate Assembly, school board members strongly urged the Legislature to allow school boards more flexibility in hiring teachers where there are demonstrated teacher shortages. Another strong message to the Legislature: is it time to provide a better process for school boards members to hire teacher and administrator candidates licensed in other states. Both resolutions send a message to trust our teacher evaluation system to empower school boards in hiring decisions.
School district leaders cited the difficulty in filling certain positions such as special education, math and science, consumer science, business teachers. Outstate school districts said there are no boundaries to the teacher shortage — it affects all areas.
As evidence, the U.S. Department of Education has declared Minnesota of having a teacher shortage in 27 areas of licensure. In addition, the number of teachers of color has not increased while students of color are increasing. The ethnic student population continues to rise while the general statewide population remains stable. Efforts to diversify the teaching force since 2002 have not been successful.
Since districts in many parts of the state are experiencing a teacher shortage and our teacher population does not respectively reflect state’s student population, MSBA will continue to advocate for districts that need some flexibility in hiring and retaining highly qualified teachers, understanding that in order to do so there needs to be an adequate pool of teachers to choose from. To close the achievement gap, we believe that public policy should address our teacher shortages and the need to replace the current pool of teachers retiring with teachers of color.