It is an understatement to say that school district leaders had a lot on their plates this past year. Between managing remote instruction, transitions to hybrid and in-person classrooms, student and staff safety, and mapping out a road to recovery, the challenges have seemed endless. It's no wonder then that among the most-read NCTQ District Trendline analyses in 2021 were those reporting on how districts adapted their teacher policies for the COVID-19 environment.
The challenges of the pandemic in schools, however, stretched beyond mask mandates and sick leave protocols. As education leaders seek to help students recover from instructional loss and strengthen a teacher workforce reporting unprecedented levels of stress, two key areas of focus have been 1) recruiting great teachers for the classroom, especially great teachers of color, and 2) increasing teacher pay.
These policy priorities were clearly reflected in other of the most-read District Trendlines this year, which included:
- tools to help districts identify sources of strong, diverse new teachers,
- analysis on the selectivity of admissions policies for teacher preparation,
- a landscape of the current state of teacher pay in the nation's large school districts, and
- a national report that exposed large differences in what teachers can earn based on where they work on a number of measures, including starting salaries, salary growth rates, opportunities to earn bonuses, and earnings over a career lifetime.
As we look forward to 2022 and the road to recovery, NCTQ will keep researching and providing actionable data on the policies with the greatest impact on the teacher workforce. Please don't hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any questions about our data and recommendations on these or other topics.