New Reports on WI Educator Workforce

The Region 10 (Wisconsin-Minnesota) Comprehensive Center, a federally-funded project housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), is pleased to announce the release of an initial set of research briefs related to the educator workforce in Wisconsin. As Wisconsin public schools look ahead to filling staff positions for the 2022-23 school year amidst widespread concerns around educator shortages, the need for timely and high-quality data which helps inform efforts to both diversify and increase the “pipeline” into the educator workforce is more important than ever. 

The Region 10 Comprehensive Center, which also includes the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota and Education Analytics (a Madison-based, non-profit educational research center), is helping to address this need for data by developing a set of policy briefs which draw upon 20 years of staffing and student enrollment data maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Included in this initial set of educator workforce policy briefs are:

·   Selected Characteristics of Teachers in Wisconsin Public Schools (summary here; full paper here) provides a descriptive profile of Wisconsin’s teacher labor force over the past 20 years. This brief covers overall numbers of teachers, what they teach, and where they teach, and demographic characteristics including gender, race/ethnicity, age, and years of experience. 
·   Trends in the Use of Emergency Credentials in Wisconsin Public Schools (summary here; full paper here) summarizes key trends in the use of short-term credentials (now known officially as “licenses with stipulations”) within Wisconsin’s public schools. This report provides an important signal regarding educator shortages in particular areas of the state and for specific types of licensure, and it also highlights potential equity issues associated with districts (particularly those serving higher shares of low-income and students of color) relying more heavily on emergency credentials.   

Two additional reports in the series are scheduled for release in the near future. The first, entitled Leaks” in the Educator Pipeline: Wisconsin Educator Preparation Program (EPP) Completers Working in Illinois and Minnesota Public Schools examines one type of “leak” in the Wisconsin educator pipeline, in the form of recent graduates from the state’s educator preparation programs (EPPs) who work in Illinois or Minnesota public schools. The second, entitled Selected Trends in Wisconsin Public School Enrollment, complements the educator workforce papers by summarizing trends in student enrollment over the past two decades, with specific attention to how enrollment is distributed by locale type (urban, suburban, rural) and by region of the state, as well as by selected demographics (students of color, students with disabilities, English Learners, and students from lower-income families).  

A forthcoming set of papers in the series includes trends in both compensation and labor force participation among teachers and principals in Wisconsin public schools. Analyzing compensation trends not only helps address questions about the potential negative short-term and longer-term impacts of Wisconsin’s controversial Act 10, but also sheds light on whether increased compensation has been accompanied by a reduction in overall benefits. Exploring trends in “stayers, movers, and leavers” within Wisconsin’s educator workforce is of obvious significance given widespread concern over educator shortages in Wisconsin and nationwide.

The newly-released Wisconsin educator data papers join a set of existing papers produced by CAREI that address efforts to diversify Minnesota’s educator workforce. This series includes the following papers:

·   Culturally Responsive School Leadership: A Review of the Research
·   How do Work Environment Conditions Affect Teachers of Color?
·   Recruiting Teachers of Color: Evidence-Based Best Practices
·   Retaining Teachers of Color: Evidence-Based Best Practices
·   Trends in the State of Teaching in the U.S. and Minnesota

A series of reports are also being developed focusing on school leaders.  The first report in this series,
entitled Selected Characteristics of Principals and Assistant Principals in Wisconsin Public Schools, will be available soon.

Contact: Bradley Carl ([email protected])