Teacher Shortages and Surpluses:
Massachusetts

General Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should inform district hiring needs with key teacher supply and demand data and make teacher mobility data publicly available at the district level. This goal was reorganized in 2021.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). Teacher Shortages and Surpluses: Massachusetts results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MA-Teacher-Shortages-and-Surpluses-89

Analysis of Massachusetts's policies

Teacher Supply and Demand Data: Massachusetts publishes some data on teacher production that connect program completion, certification, and hiring statistics. For example, the state provides number of program completers, total percentage employed in a Massachusetts school, and retention information. This data is provided for each teacher preparation program in the state. In terms of district-level data, Massachusetts provides aggregated teacher retention rates and the number of teachers by grade and subject area. However, no connection is made between these data, and consequently this report provides an incomplete analysis of teacher supply and demand in Massachusetts.

Teacher Mobility Data: Massachusetts reports staffing retention rates in its School and District Profiles.

Citation

Recommendations for Massachusetts

Publish data that connect program supply data to district-level demand data.
Teacher preparation programs graduate more candidates each year than actually earn certification, and only some of those certified are ultimately hired to teach in the state. It is certainly desirable to produce a large enough pool to provide districts a choice in hiring, but a substantial oversupply of teacher candidates in some teaching areas serves neither the profession nor the students well. Massachusetts is on the right track publishing both teacher production and district-level hiring data. However, the state should strive to connect these data by explicitly highlighting state teacher shortage and surplus areas as well as any regional differences.

State response to our analysis

Massachusetts was helping in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also publishes data on teacher preparation employment by top employing school districts. Additionally, Massachusetts indicated that it provides a dynamic dashboard to hiring districts on their pipeline called the, Teacher Preparation Partnership Pipeline Report. This dashboard provides detailed information about where new hires and existing employees were prepared, their efficacy in the district as reflected by evaluation and hiring principal perception data as well as a record of student teaching placements from each provider. Because of the detailed nature of this report (including individual employment information), it is not provided publicly but used instead to inform strategic decisions by districts and their preparation partners.


Updated: March 2021

How we graded

1B: Teacher Shortages and Surpluses

  • Teacher Supply and Demand Data: The state publicly reports data that connects teacher program supply data to district-level demand data to identify areas of shortage and surplus.
  • Teacher Mobility Data: The state tracks, and makes public, teacher mobility data.
Teacher Supply and Demand Data
Three-quarters of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if it publishes data that connect educator preparation program supply data to district-level hiring data to identify areas of shortage and surplus.
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it publishes teacher production and district/regional hiring data, but does not explicitly connect the two to explicitly identify areas of shortage and surplus.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it publishes teacher production data or district/regional hiring data.
Teacher Mobility Data
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if teacher mobility data are tracked and made publicly available at the district level, consistent with applicable privacy constraints.

Research rationale

It is an inefficient use of resources for individual districts to build their own data systems for tracking teachers. States need to take the lead and provide districts with state-level data that can be used not only for the purpose of measuring teacher effectiveness, but also to gauge the supply and demand of teachers in the state.[1] Furthermore, multiple years of data are necessary to identify staffing trends.

Many preparation programs graduate people who are certified to teach but do not get jobs in the classroom. Often times, this is because these teachers pursue certifications in areas that already have a surplus of teachers (e.g., elementary education), while districts struggle to find applicants to hire in other areas (e.g., special education, science).[2] Given this misalignment between the teachers that teacher preparation programs produce and the hiring needs of school districts, the state should step in to establish a cohesive data reporting system. By creating reports that publicly delineate the number of teachers produced by each teacher preparation program (and therefore by certification area), the state will be better able to identify instances where the production of teachers does not match districts' needs.

Furthermore, the state should consider whether teacher preparation programs are supplying districts with the teachers they need when approving or re-approving programs. Teacher preparation programs exist primarily to prepare teachers for public school positions (approximately 88 percent of teachers work in public schools).[3] If teacher preparation programs produce far more teachers than the state needs in some certification areas and far too few in others, the programs are failing to meeting their state's demand. Moreover, student teaching placements (which tend to be near candidates' teacher prep programs) are highly predictive of where candidates will get their first teaching jobs, therefore also allowing states the ability to predict which open positions are likely to be filled.[4] Given that the preparation program's function is to supply the nearby area (and more generally, the state) with public school teachers, it is incumbent upon the state to make sure the program fulfills that responsibility, particularly through the collection and application of data on teacher production numbers and district demand.

Additional elements are needed to use data to assess teacher supply and demand. For example, states should include in their data systems means of tracking when teachers leave schools or districts, as well as when they re-enter new ones, and should make these data publicly available. These data can support the state's effort to build a cohesive picture of the state's teacher labor market and workforce needs.


[1] Cowan, J., Goldhaber, D., Hayes, K., & Theobald, R. (2016). Missing elements in the discussion of teacher shortages. Retrieved from http://www.caldercenter.org/missing-elements-discussion-teacher-shortages.
[2] Cowan, J., Goldhaber, D., Hayes, K., & Theobald, R. (2016). Missing elements in the discussion of teacher shortages. CALDER. Retrieved from http://www.caldercenter.org/missing-elements-discussion-teacher-shortages.
[3] National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Table 208.20: Public and private elementary and secondary teachers, enrollment, pupil/teacher ratios, and new teacher hires: Selected years, fall 1955 through fall 2025. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_208.20.asp.
[4] Krieg, J. M., Theobald, R., & Goldhaber, D. (2016). A foot in the door: Exploring the role of student teaching assignments in teachers' initial job placements. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(2), 364-388.