LAS VEGAS – The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) and the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) are partnering to expand the number and diversity of licensure-ready teachers that complete NSHE’s teacher preparatory programs annually.
The NSHE Teacher Pipeline Task Force (Task Force) is made up of representatives from across K-12 and higher education. The Task Force will be jointly chaired by Dr. Dennis Potthoff, Dean of Nevada State College’s School of Education, and Jessica Todtman, Chief Strategy Officer at the Nevada Department of Education.
Currently, NSHE institutions collectively graduate fewer than 900 students from traditional and non-traditional teacher preparation programs annually. At the same time, Nevada’s school districts see an attrition rate of approximately 2,300 teachers leaving employment annually due to retirement or other reasons. These departures do not account for persistent teacher vacancies, which bring the annual demand for new teachers to above 3,000. As a result of Nevada’s chronic teacher shortages, 87% – or 374,424 – students in Nevada were in a larger-than-recommended class size during the 2019-20 school year.
“I want to thank Superintendent Ebert and Chancellor Rose for partnering to address Nevada’s teacher shortage. The need to fill teacher vacancies is not just an education issue – it is a workforce issue and an economic issue,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “My office recently released the “Every Nevadan Recovery” Framework, which prioritizes the funding the State will receive from the American Rescue Plan to help address the effects of COVID-19. The Task Force’s mission is critically important to the future of our State, and I look forward to the results of their efforts.”
“NSHE is completely committed to growing the pipeline of diverse teacher candidates in our system,” said NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose. “We have a vested interest in providing high-quality teachers to prepare college- and career-ready high school graduates who enroll in our institutions.”
“We know that the quality of a teacher is the number one in-school factor contributing to student success,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert. “I want to thank Chancellor Rose and our partners across NSHE for their willingness to address barriers so we can better meet the demand for effective teachers who represent the diversity of our State.”
In addition, the self-reported race/ethnicity of Nevada’s teachers does not reflect the demographics of our students. While only 28% of Nevada’s students identify as white, 81% of Nevada’s teachers self-identify as white. This problem is not unique to the Silver State. While approximately 50% of the pre-K-12 students in the U.S. identify as young people of color, 82% of the current U.S. teacher force is, by societal definitions, white. Increasing the diversity of Nevada’s teacher workforce is not an aspiration, but rather it is integral to efforts to address educational inequity. Improving teacher diversity benefits all students, as teachers of color are positive role models for students, breaking down stereotypes and preparing students to participate and succeed in a dynamic global society.
That is why Chancellor Rose and Superintendent Ebert are launching the NSHE Teacher Pipeline Task Force. The Task Force will leverage the data, research, and recommendations from prior efforts as a foundation from which to take urgent action. The work of the Task Force will invite NSHE institutions to collectively rise to the challenge of expanding the number and increasing the diversity of licensure-ready pre-K-12 teachers who complete traditional and non-traditional teacher preparatory programs annually.
Specifically, the NSHE Teacher Pipeline Task Force is charged with:
- Scaling up and replicating current teacher pipeline initiatives that have proven to be successful across NSHE institutions.
- Identifying and preparing to implement solutions to barriers to locally growing and retaining Nevada’s diverse teacher workforce.
- Making recommendations to the NSHE Chancellor and Superintendent of Public Instruction for improvement regarding current State policy and practices that govern teacher preparation, licensure, and retention.
- Exploring the role of educator preparation programs in supporting districts’ and schools’ short- and long-term teacher retention efforts.
The Task Force will hold its first meeting on April 20, 2021 to begin its work.
The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) leads and collaborates with Nevada’s 17 school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority to advance educational equity and achieve its mission to improve student achievement and educator effectiveness by ensuring opportunities, facilitating learning, and promoting excellence. Under the leadership of the State Board of Education, NDE impacts the achievement of more than half a million children and 30,000 educators.
The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Board of Regents.