Washington, D.C., February 6, 2024 — Teach Plus today issued the following statement on the bicameral and bipartisan introduction of the Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act in Congress:
“The country is facing an alarming rate of educator shortages. Stakeholders, school districts and policy makers across the country are racing to create policy solutions to target these complex issues,” said Kira Orange Jones, CEO of Teach Plus. “However, without comprehensive, uniform data on educators across the country, we cannot make decisions that are efficient, effective and responsible. The bicameral, bipartisan Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act will allow policymakers at all levels of government to use this data to make informed decisions on how to best support students, teachers, and schools across the country.”
U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Matthew Cartwright (D-PA-08) and Zach Nunn (R-IA-03) today introduced legislation to collect demographic data on public school teachers and principals to improve the accuracy of educator workforce data. The Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act would establish a permanent, national mechanism to collect teacher and principal data at the school district-level to assist in recruitment and retention of educators.
Teach Plus National Policy Advisory Board members conceptualized and led the efforts for introduction. The bill was conceptualized in 2021 by Jen Loescher, Regional Math Coach and Trainer and former National Policy Advisory Board Member based in Nevada. “‘The Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act is a crucial step forward in addressing the pressing need for comprehensive educator workforce data,’’ said Jen Loescher. “As an educator who encountered barriers in accessing essential information for a grant proposal, I initiated this legislation to establish a structure that not only promotes diversity in teaching but also ensures the collection and accessibility of critical data, allowing us to measure success and identify areas for improvement in advancing education.”
“As a dedicated teacher, I believe the Strengthening Workforce Data Act will provide legislators with the knowledge and data needed to create meaningful change within our classrooms and communities. We are seeing a desperate need to increase the educator workforce in Pennsylvania and this bill ensures that legislators see that the needs of teachers are heard and respected in shaping the future of education,” said Laura Sosik, Teach Plus Senior National Policy Advisory Board Member and 2nd-grade teacher at Isaac Tripp Elementary School in Scranton, Pa.
Research shows that all students benefit from a high-quality, diverse educator workforce, and that students of color with at least one same-race teacher often have improved academic performance, attendance, graduation rates, and aspiration to attend college.
Current solutions to address both educator workforce shortages and diversity gaps use incomplete data that is not easily accessible. Without a national dataset, legislators cannot identify which schools need the most help, nor can they evaluate the effectiveness of federal investments in recruitment and retention programs like the Teacher Quality Partnership and the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence. Access to educator workforce data is necessary to track the impact of federal dollars in schools, as well as boost efforts to increase educator diversity.
Specifically, the Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act would direct the Department of Education (Department) to collect the following data from public schools, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and sex:
- The number of full-time principals employed and the median years of experience across the full-time principals employed, disaggregated by years of experience;
- The number of full-time preschool and K-12 teachers employed, disaggregated by years of experience; and
- The number of full-time teachers who hold State certificates, licenses, or endorsements in mathematics, science, English as a second language, and special education—all hard to staff subject areas.
This data would then be published through the Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection and made publicly available. The bill would ensure privacy is protected, and individually identifiable information about teachers and principals would remain confidential.
The Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act has also earned support from American Federation of Teachers, National Council on Teacher Quality, The Education Trust, National Association of Elementary School Principals, UnidosUS, The New Teacher Project, New Leaders, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Educators for Excellence, National Center for Teacher Residencies, Center for Black Educator Development, Latinos for Education, The Sikh Coalition, EDGE Consulting Partners, Leading Educators, and Opportunity Culture @ Public Impact.
About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. In pursuing our mission, Teach Plus is guided by our Student Opportunity Mandate: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning for students. Teachplus.org