The Utah Teacher Initiative

SUPPORTING GREAT TEACHERS

Addressing Utah’s teacher shortage

Research consistently demonstrates that nothing within a school has a greater impact on our children’s future than quality teachers.
But Utah is experiencing a large and growing teacher shortage.
Each year, about 12% of teachers leave the profession, and almost half quit within the first five years. Enrollment in teaching programs at Utah’s colleges and universities has declined. School districts are increasing class sizes, utilizing less-qualified teachers, recruiting from out of state, and searching for money to increase salaries.

Your Utah, Your Future also tells us...

  • 42 percent of teachers in Utah leave the profession within 5 years of starting.
  • Measures of teacher preparation and certification are by far the strongest correlates of student achievement in reading and mathematics, both before and after controlling for student poverty and language status.
  • Between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, 12 percent of teachers in Utah quit teaching.
  • Only 41 percent of Utahns are satisfied with the quality of K-12 education in the state.
  • 84 percent of Utahns believe high teacher quality is important or essential to improving education in Utah.

OUR PROJECT:

Overcoming the teacher shortage

With this data in mind, Envision Utah brought together several groups of community leaders, education leaders, and researchers to discuss possible strategies to address the teacher shortage. We assembled a list of 22 possible solutions and analyzed them with these groups in depth. As a result of facilitating these discussions, we’ve identified a group of 12–15 specific, robust strategies that we believe will make the biggest impact in the teacher shortage.

An effective long-term solution to the teacher shortage in Utah is going to require:

  • Enhancing the perception of the profession.
  • Effectively recruiting more great high school and college students into the teaching profession.
  • Improving mentorship.
  • Professional development.
  • Improving working conditions in schools to retain more teachers and improve outcomes.
  • Finding ways recruit back into the profession some of the best teachers who left.