Dr. Hans A. Andrews (Distinguished Fellow in Community College Leadership, Olney Central College) & Dr. William Marzano (Former Academic Administrator, Waubonsee Community College)
Dr. Hans Andrews is the Distinguished Fellow in Community College Leadership through Olney Central College in Olney, Illinois. He is a former president of the college. He also served as Dean of Instruction at Illinois Valley Community College and Vice President for Community and Student Services at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Dr. William “Bill” Marzano is a Former Academic Administrator at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois. He is an Adjunct Faculty Member in Management for Aurora University in Illinois.
- What is needed now and into the immediate future is a much more robust teacher pipeline to start including community and technical colleges.
- Short term ‘patches’ keep getting legislated.
- Inadequate diverse teaching faculties are still lacking in most school districts across most of the states.
- Are teacher shortages leading to a crisis?
An educational crisis is a crisis of capability; the only resolution is learning and transformation. Individually, we experience these quite often, when more is asked of us than we can give, the only resolution is to learn, to grow, and to develop new capabilities —Stein, 2007.
The arena of teacher shortages across the United States at this time definitely fits this definition
Teacher shortages are a continuing and growing challenge throughout our nation. Enrollments in California teacher education programs were 70 percent less in 2019 than a decade earlier. The Economic Policy Institute (2019, March 26) identified the following that they labeled as ‘key statistics’ in their review:
- Thirty Four percent of new hires in California had “substandard credentials”
- Fourteen percent of hires were 60 years of age or older and forty percent were aged 50 or older
- Over 4,100 teachers were “needed to reduce (the state’s) student-teacher to pre-recession levels
- Attrition or turnover rates were highest in schools serving higher proportions of students from low-income families
- These higher attrition rates were concentrated un schools with a large concentration of students of color
In a U.S. News and World Report a decline in students enrolling in teacher preparation programs was announced at 340,000 fewer students in 2019 than in 2010. Bryan Duke at the University of Central Oklahoma saw this growing crisis as going to take at least a decade to turn around. His university had a drop off in enrollment from 1,800 down to 856 over a seven-year period.
Most states have not yet seen the necessity of expanding the pipelines into new areas that might be available with a little commonsense thinking.
Legislating ‘Patches’ vs. New Pipelines
The pressures being felt by legislators throughout almost every state has forced some new legislation in several states to help relieve this crisis as it continues to build. It is, however, difficult to find any recent legislation that does more than expand adding more ‘patches’ to the problem. Here are samples of the type of ‘solutions’ being offered:
Kentucky: In April of 2022 extended relaxing restrictions for rehiring retirees.
Illinois: August of 2021 saw HB 256 signed into law to allow an extension of the state ‘sunset’ on their pension code. Retired teachers could now return to teaching without disrupting their retirement annuities for up to three years.
Colorado: This state has been working on bills to make it easier to have retired teachers to return to the classrooms.
Michigan: In late 2021 janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and others in the school systems were legislated into being available to replace teachers in classes not staffed for days, weeks, or longer.
Teacher Salaries and Working Conditions
These poor working conditions have been lingering and expanding for a long time and include: (1) lower pay than in most other professions with the same amount of training; (2) the pandemic which has caused much stress, overworking, and shortages of teachers and other support staff.
California and Florida: Community College Baccalaureate Degrees
California was one of the first states to be approved to set up a ‘pilot program (Senate Bill 850) for offering of baccalaureate degrees in their community colleges. Absent in these California programs continues to be baccalaureate degrees in education. The following are some of the results of community colleges being allowed to grant baccalaureate degrees in California:
- Opportunity for students: Over half of the students in these programs would not otherwise have pursued a bachelor’s degree.
- Backgrounds: Some 60% enrolled from communities of color and disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Availability: More than 50 percent would not have pursued a baccalaureate degree.
- Affordability: Tuition for all four years cost just over $10,500.
- Place-Bound: Most of the students are ‘place-bound.’
- Ages: Range from 28 to 32 vs. 18-24 of typical college students.
I will continue my efforts to make sure that, just like Florida, California will be able to have its community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees without limitations,” Carroll says, noting that it is part of her next chapter. “I have founded the California Community College Baccalaureate Association, and that will be my post-retirement focus — Constant Carroll.
Constant Carroll started the first Baccalaureate Degree programs in California Community College. She is the former Chancellor of San Diego Community College District. Her work today continues with the national Community College Baccalaureate Degree Association.
There are a significant number of community colleges in Florida presently offering Baccalaureate Degrees in education. The larger community colleges have a wider array of offerings than the more rural area colleges. California and Florida both documented the same outcome of improved diversity in their community college baccalaureate degree programs.
Current higher education legislation in most states prohibits this authority to community colleges. Granting the baccalaureate degree conferring ability to all or a targeted number of community colleges would require a coordinated and intense lobbying effort by stakeholders. It may be seen as a “drastic step” by some.
Conclusion and movement forward!
By moving community colleges into the center of K-12 teacher preparation, much progress can be made. By having legislation in each of the states grant approval for the baccalaureate teacher degree, the nation’s community colleges can play a vital and central role in overcoming the nation’s teacher shortages and at the same time improve the diversity of the teaching staffs.