RiSE faculty member and MEPRI co-director Janet Fairman featured in teacher workforce shortage article

Janet Fairman, co-director of the Maine Education Research Policy Institute, said there are three main questions that need to be answered before solutions to the teacher workforce shortage can be determined.

She agreed with the DOE that there needs to be more information about open positions, as well as more research on why teachers have left. Fairman added that another major question to answer is why high school students don’t seem to be interested in entering the profession anymore.

Right now, she said the university is seeing less undergraduate enrollment in education majors.

To understand why this might be, Fairman is working on a research project to survey undergraduate students who are studying education about why they chose their major, what their perceptions of teaching are, and what might incentivize them to teach in a rural district.

“As we learn more about what attracts people to teaching, keeps them in the profession, and what is causing them to leave, then we can start to identify where the problems are and try to form a plan to address some of those challenges,” Fairman said.

MEPRI has also noticed the increase in staff leaving their positions, Fairman added. Combining that trend with the decrease in college students majoring in education creates a “double whammy and, at the same time, a perfect storm.”

Her colleague and Co-Director of MEPRI Amy Johnson is compiling data from the DOE to see exactly who is leaving what positions. The results will not equate to vacancies or answer why people are leaving, but could shed light on where the biggest gaps in teaching are.

Read full Bangor Daily News article here: There’s no immediate solution to Maine’s teacher shortage

Read original The Maine Monitor article here: As teacher departures rise, solutions could be a year or more away