Improving Community College Transfer Pathways Could Help With Teacher Shortages

Improving Community College Transfer Pathways Could Help With Teacher Shortages
Improving Community College Transfer Pathways Could Help With Teacher Shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated considerations over instructor labor shortages. In excessive situations, states have even referred to as within the National Guard to workers school rooms or fill different roles in faculties. While instructor shortages are a nationwide challenge, they’re of explicit concern in Michigan, the place enrollment in instructor preparation applications has dropped by 70 p.c over the previous eight years.

In a current survey performed by the Michigan Education Association of two,600 educators throughout the state, greater than 90 p.c expressed concern over instructor and workers shortages, and greater than 40 p.c anticipated leaving their college inside the subsequent two to 3 years. Low salaries, irritating working situations and an overemphasis on standardized testing have lengthy contributed to instructor burnout, however the pandemic appears to have heightened academics’ stress and discontent with the occupation.

In response to instructor labor shortages, Michigan’s Department of Education lately issued a collection of coverage suggestions for the state Legislature. These suggestions embody relaxed laws on out-of-state academics who apply for in-state instructor certification, pupil mortgage compensation for faculty graduates dedicated to the instructing occupation and efforts to enhance the instructor preparation pipeline, every of that are laudable in their very own proper. But the proposals overlook one vital supply of future academics: neighborhood faculties. Improvements to neighborhood school switch insurance policies provide further potential to alleviate instructor shortages.

Colleges and universities play a central position in offering coaching and credentials to future educators. By legislation, academics in Michigan will need to have accomplished a bachelor’s diploma in addition to a state-approved instructor preparation program. An affiliate diploma alone doesn’t qualify Michiganders to show, however it does place college students on a path towards bachelor’s diploma and instructor preparation program completion. Students who’ve accomplished a bachelor’s diploma even have entry to Michigan’s different path to instructor certification (ARC), an expedited program designed for people who maintain a minimal of a bachelor’s diploma and are employed as a instructor below an interim instructing certificates. ARC credentials can at present be earned at 4 Michigan postsecondary establishments, together with one neighborhood school.

In reality, many college students who full bachelor’s and grasp’s levels in training begin at a neighborhood school. Among bachelor’s levels in training conferred by all Michigan four-year faculties in 2018, about 50 p.c have been awarded to college students who transferred from a neighborhood school. At public four-year faculties, this quantity climbs to 55 p.c. More than 20 p.c of grasp’s levels in training awarded by Michigan faculties in recent times have gone to college students who at one level enrolled at a neighborhood school.

Making the transition from two- to four-year faculties simpler may cut back instructor shortages throughout the board however notably amongst educators of shade, the place the scarcity is particularly regarding. In 2018, over 50 p.c of Black bachelor’s diploma recipients and over 40 p.c of Black grasp’s diploma recipients at Michigan faculties began at a neighborhood school. As proven in Figures 1 and a pair of, these proportions are greater than for white college students, underscoring the disproportionate position that neighborhood faculties play as entry factors into greater training for Black college students.

Notes: Community school contribution on this case refers to any pupil who accomplished a bachelor’s diploma in training at a four-year school in Michigan and ever enrolled at a public neighborhood school in Michigan.

While neighborhood faculties already make vital contributions to bachelor’s and grasp’s levels awarded in Michigan, addressing structural limitations within the vertical switch pipeline may allow even bigger contributions that might alleviate instructor shortages and enhance variety amongst academics. Among first-time public neighborhood school college students in Michigan, about 40 p.c switch to a four-year school, 20 p.c full an affiliate diploma and 15 p.c full a bachelor’s diploma, according to nationwide averages. Quite a few components account for low switch and degree-completion charges, from poor funding to insufficient pupil advising to misaligned switch pathways between two- and four-year faculties throughout educational applications. Improvements on any of those fronts may assist improve diploma completion and increase the variety of college students who full levels in training.

Other states and establishments have began to take discover of neighborhood faculties’ contribution to instructor labor provide and applied reforms accordingly. For occasion, North Carolina lately created extra intentional pathways between its two- and four-year faculties by permitting college students to finish affiliate levels in instructor preparation previous to switch and figuring out related switch coursework by an articulation settlement. The City University of New York system has quite a lot of conditional switch agreements in education schemes between neighborhood and four-year faculties. Faculty committees have additionally helped to designate sure programs as gateway programs, which may be transferred for credit score throughout CUNY’s four-year faculties. States like Florida and Washington have handed laws to permit neighborhood faculties to award bachelor’s levels in instructor training to assist native college districts meet staffing wants.

Developing switch pathways in training may enhance retention, switch and degree-completion charges for aspiring academics enrolled at neighborhood faculties. More basic enhancements to switch pathways, equivalent to articulated coursework in college-level math and English, may additionally assist the trigger by rising college students’ chance of bachelor’s diploma completion and rising entry to the choice path to instructor certification. As a part of the Michigan Transfer Network, the Michigan Community College Association, the Michigan Association of State Universities and Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities are collaborating to enhance the switch expertise by multi-institutional affiliate and bachelor’s diploma pathways and higher entry to switch info for college kids. Removing limitations to switch between two- and four-year faculties can’t deal with all the underlying components contributing to instructor labor shortages, however it’s one promising technique for guaranteeing extra high quality academics are ready for the classroom.

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