This past February, I had the opportunity to represent AMLE at the National Educator Shortage Summit convened by the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA). As a membership organization, we saw our representation at this first-of-its-kind gathering as essential because we know that we will only solve this crisis through a collective leveraging of knowledge and influence from all stakeholders. Along with AMLE Trustees Lisa Harrison and Andrew Maxey, I participated in a robust dialogue focused on identifying the current challenges and potential solutions.
We are pleased that AASPA has published the findings from the Summit, and I encourage all of our members to read the paper to arm themselves with a deep understanding of the systemic issues that are contributing to the school staffing shortages plaguing so many of our districts.
The paper identifies five shifts to address the national educator shortage, including:
- Create pathways to careers in education: Reduce barriers to careers in education while preserving standards of excellence
- Provide educators with more resources: Design comprehensive human capital management systems
- Increase educator pay: Establish transparent and equitable total rewards systems
- Support employee wellness: Strengthen educators’ sense of purpose, belonging, and connection
- Promote the profession: Deliver exceptional employment experiences
While some of these shifts may seem obvious to the educator living in today’s reality, I appreciate that we now have a comprehensive document with substantive and in-depth recommendations that we can make use of to advocate for current and future educators. Even more critically, I am hopeful that the paper signals a broader change of the narrative toward one that reestablishes a respect for the profound undertaking that is the education profession. As AASPA CEO Kelly Coash Johnson states in the paper, “This is not another teacher shortage white paper. What follows disrupts traditional calls to action, and looks across all shortage areas in education. Together, we can move from shortage to surplus.”
As always, I want to know what you, our members, think. Did we get it right? How can we create professional working environments that retain and empower educators? What do you need to do you job to the best of your ability? How can organizations like your AMLE help? I welcome your input at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMLE remains dedicated to helping middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. But we can only do that with a healthy vibrant workforce to support in the first place.
Stephanie Simpson is the CEO of AMLE.