As the median age of licensed teachers in Oregon increases, future retirements will create new demands for classroom teachers. At the same time, Oregon needs to increase the diversity of the future teaching workforce and ensure that a career pathway is clearly outlined.
To support recruitment efforts, Oregon needs a statewide campaign to attract, support, and retain a more diverse future educator workforce by reaching out to current K-20 students, volunteers, instructional aides, and content experts. The campaign needs to include user-friendly licensure information, access to supports (test preparation and advising), targeted financial aid, and apprentice/volunteer opportunities.
Revisions need to be made to Oregon’s licensure system to create a “Resident” License for those who are authorized to assist with teaching but who do not serve as “instructors of record for the class.” This type of authentic hands-on experience, sometimes compared to the apprenticeship model used in other professions, can help a district recruit and develop their own future workforce while reducing financial debt for candidates pursuing teacher licensure.
OEIB acknowledges that retaining teachers in the career is impacted by hiring practices as well as working conditions, supports, professional development and career advancement opportunities.
When an educator has earned an Oregon “Initial Teaching” License, they should have access to a state approved induction/mentoring program. Once they have demonstrated successful teaching experience in the classroom, they should be able to earn a “Professional” License, renewable throughout one’s career. Teachers holding an Initial License who either did not enter the workforce or had to step out of the workforce could renew an Initial License with continued professional development; thus, staying qualified for the job market.
Finally, a tiered licensure model that added a “Teacher Leader” license would formally acknowledge that teachers progress through their careers and receive opportunities for leadership commensurate with their practice and competency that do not always lead to principal or district administrator positions.
OEIB agrees with experts who expect a teacher licensure system to ensure that future teachers are well prepared to teach, support new teachers, provide incentives to encourage teachers to accept new roles and responsibilities, and encourage teachers to seek continued training to gain the knowledge and skills they need. Many would agree that Oregon could do more in all of these respects. A new multi-level teaching licensure process could provide needed structure for strengthening the preparation and advancement of teachers, our most valuable resource needed to help all students achieve success and to reach Oregon’s 40/40/20 goal.
- Teacher Preparation
- Career Pathways