Reaching Higher NH, in partnership with 15 professional organizations, recently completed a statewide survey of educators and school staff who are changing positions or school districts, leaving the state, or leaving the field altogether. The survey closed in late June 2022, and Reaching Higher NH is pleased to announce the release of the published results.
One of the most important investments that our state can make in supporting our public schools is establishing and maintaining a strong, diverse, and supported teaching and learning profession. Fully prepared teachers make sure students excel in critical subjects like math, science, and reading, and teach them the skills they’ll need to learn and understand the world around them. Empowered school leadership, including school principals, create strong and inclusive learning environments that support the whole child and deeper learning. And school staff like paraprofessionals, school counselors, and school nurses support young people by fostering student learning and well-being.
Reaching Higher NH and Women Educators Leading Learning (WELL) administered a survey in Spring 2022 to learn more about why teachers and school staff are leaving, or are considering leaving, their schools, the state, or the profession.
The survey data affirms what we at Reaching Higher NH have been hearing in the field: New Hampshire teachers and school staff are feeling increased pressure and demands and aren’t being financially compensated for their professional expertise like in other fields. Teachers in particular feel the weight of growing political divisiveness and a shifting school climate, where increasing pressures, expectations, and demands have impacted the field. Many teachers directly cited political rhetoric, attacks from lawmakers, and a lack of support from state leaders as reasons for leaving the state or profession, and legislation like the “divisive concepts” law has heightened fears of consequences for teachers and school leaders. And at all levels, inadequate pay has driven them out of the profession altogether.
New Hampshire must better support our teachers and school staff. We can start by:
- Ensuring that teachers and school staff, regardless of where they teach, receive fair and competitive pay. New Hampshire must ensure that its school funding formula provides school districts with the resources they need to pay teachers and school staff fairly.
- Investing in effective retention strategies, like mentoring, professional learning and growth, and establishing collaborative leadership structures and practices.
- Strengthening and diversifying the teaching profession. All students benefit when teachers and school staff represent the rich diversity of our communities. Preparation programs like teacher residencies and Grow Your Own (GYO) programs create opportunities to recruit local educators and strengthen long-term retention. According to research, nearly half of the new teachers in residency programs across the country are people of color.
- Improving recruitment strategies. Eliminating barriers for future teachers to pursue pathways to education is critical to making sure that New Hampshire has a strong, well-qualified teacher workforce now and in the future. Scholarships, grants, loan forgiveness, and other incentive programs can lessen the financial burden of pursuing a career in education and encourage teachers to stay in the state.
- Respecting teaching as a profession. Well-qualified teachers and school leaders are highly trained and experts in their field. The public overwhelmingly supports public schools and teachers, and trusts them more than almost any other profession. We must ensure that our schools are well-supported and are affirming places for our students, teachers, and staff, and that they are valued in our communities and in our state as a whole.
Click the image below to download and read the full report!
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