Teacher Shortages and Surpluses: Washington

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.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). Teacher Shortages and Surpluses: Washington results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/WA-Teacher-Shortages-and-Surpluses-89

Analysis of Washington's policies

Teacher Supply and Demand Data: On its Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) website, Washington reports a variety of teacher hiring data. The District Workforce webpage provides district and school hiring data. Interactive maps are available showing the one year in-district persistence of beginning teachers, the percentage of teachers on limited certificates, and the percentage of teachers teaching out-of-field. The PESB's Educator Shortage webpage provides an interactive map showing endorsement shortage areas for each district.

In 2019, the state published The Data and the Story: Educator Shortage in Washington State. The report provides district-level data of the three-year persistence of beginning teachers in their initial districts. The report also provides state-level data on the number of teachers providing instruction on limited certificates by content area.

For educator preparation program reviews, Washington requires programs to submit data on the percent of program completers and a three year aggregate placement rate of program completers. The state also requires programs to provide data on the percentage of candidates recommended in STEM, special education, English language learner, and other identified shortage areas. However, Washington does not publish this teacher production or shortage data and connect this data to district hiring needs, and consequently this report provides an incomplete analysis of teacher production in Washington.

Teacher Mobility Data: Washington does not make publicly available teacher mobility data.

Citation

Recommendations for Washington

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. Washington is on the right track publishing district-level hiring data. However, the state should strive to collect a rich set of data that can inform policy decisions, including graduates by program, ethnicity, and gender. These data can then be used to determine, when connected with district hiring data, teacher shortage and surplus areas.

Track teacher mobility data and make it publicly available.
Washington should not only track teacher mobility data at both the state and district levels, but it should also make these data publicly available, consistent with applicable privacy constraints. Providing detailed analyses of teacher mobility and attrition will help provide a clearer picture of Washington's teaching force.

State response to our analysis

Washington was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.

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.