Creating Conditions for Successful Educator Pipelines
Establishing Standards of Practice and Performance
State standards for educator practice and performance establish the state’s vision for effective teachers and principals. Although the standards themselves are generally adopted by a state’s board of education, legislatures play a pivotal role in ensuring standards are cross-cutting, differentiated and aligned to the state’s vision of effectiveness.
All states have adopted some form of standards for teachers and principals; however, not all states mandate the same standards be used across the teacher and principal pipeline. Having aligned standards communicates a clear definition of effectiveness and ensures preparation, professional learning, and evaluations support educators in moving toward that definition.
Additionally, most currently adopted standards apply to all teachers and all school leaders without accounting for the wide variation in teaching and leadership roles within schools. When standards do not address the various roles in each educator group, there is no clear state vision for effectiveness in those roles. As a result, either educators end up being held to standards that do not accurately reflect their role or the local education agency is left to develop the standards for the different roles despite capacity constraints.
Key State Actions:
- Develop standards that are differentiated for the various teacher and school leader roles, e.g., classroom teacher, teacher librarian, special education teacher, interventionist, principal, assistant principal, dean, athletic director, etc.
- Ensure all policies require alignment to the state standards.
- Provide flexibility for local adaptation.
Developing Educator Tracking Systems
Educator data systems can provide relevant and timely data to help districts, preparation programs and policymakers make informed decisions and engage in continuous improvement. By ensuring data systems are transparent and widely available, state legislatures can also facilitate use of these systems among parents, students and educators.
Collecting and disseminating data on the educator workforce provides the requisite information to understand existing challenges in educator pipelines, identify areas of need and measure the impact of policy initiatives. For this to occur, states can require the collection of key data points and provide support for the development of data systems that are publicly available and easy to understand.
Key State Actions:
- Require data collections on information on relevant skills and staffing needs.
- Collect and disseminate data on preparation program enrollment and completion and align it with workforce and effectiveness data.
- Build feedback loops to ensure data is being used to support continuous improvement.
Building Capacity to Support Pipelines
Capacity is a frequent challenge faced at the local education agency level, hindering efforts to establish successful local pipelines. To help build local capacity, states can provide funding flexibility, act as a convenor, and develop clearinghouses for best practice.
Key State Actions:
- Provide flexible fiscal support to local education agencies.
- Help build partnerships and networks across districts to share insights.
- Curate and disseminate information and model practices.
- California S.B. 170 (2021) provides funding to enhance data collection, analysis and reporting capacity and to improve availability of data about teacher preparation, placement, retention, and diversity to the public, policy makers, researchers and the accreditation system.
- Florida H.B. 1159 (2021) updates provisions for the state’s professional development program for school leaders, requiring a collaborative network of school districts, state-approved educational leadership programs, regional consortia, charter management organizations and state and national professional leadership organizations maintain a clearinghouse and disseminate data-supported information related to enhanced student achievement and learning, civic education, coaching and mentoring, mental health awareness, technology in education, distance learning and school safety.
- South Carolina H.B. 3591 (2022) improves the means for evaluating educator preparation programs by providing for the annual development and publication of the State Teacher Preparation Report Card.
By creating the conditions for comprehensive and aligned educator pipelines, state legislatures facilitate the success of targeted efforts to improve educator recruitment, preparation, and retention. Having a clear definition of educator effectiveness provides direction for new initiatives to ensure they are of high-quality and are complementary to the existing pipeline structures. Having comprehensive data systems allows for the development of targeted policy solutions that directly address the state’s areas of need. Having structures to build local capacity ensures local actors have sufficient support for successful implementation of new policies while preserving local control.