As school districts struggle to recruit teachers, the challenges have resulted in having studies investigate the cause of teacher shortages.
In Indiana, two studies have investigated the problem. They explore similar questions, but conclusions may be very different. They are headed by two groups that often disagree on education policy.
One study was launched by Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz to identify ways to attract more teachers and keep them in the classroom. Ritz is a Democrat who will likely share the conclusions of the study with lawmakers.
The other exploration is being chartered by state Rep. Robert Behning and state Senator Dennis Kruse, two GOP lawmakers who have powerful influence on education legislation. They have pledged to find out why fewer teachers are being licensed.
Ideas on why the numbers of licenses are down vary. According to the Department of Education, there has been an 18 percent drop in the number of teaching licenses issued over the past five years. Retention data varies across the state.
One thing is clear – in order to find solutions, lawmakers will need to work with educators, not against them, says Marvin Lynn, dean of the School of Education at Indiana University-South Bend.