Eric.ed.gov – A Snapshot of Educator Mobility in Montana: Understanding Issues of Educator Shortages and Turnover

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This study was conducted at the request of education policymakers who participate in the Montana Rural Recruitment and Retention Task Force. Like many states, Montana is struggling to recruit and retain qualified educators, especially in certain subject areas and in more rural parts of the state. The purpose of this study is to provide information that will help the task force address these challenges. Task force members asked REL Northwest to examine the following questions: (1) What is the extent of educator shortages in the state in 2017/18? How do educator shortage patterns vary by characteristics of school systems?; (2) To what extent did educators stay in their position and school system, move to a different position within the school system, move to a different school system, or leave the public education system between 2016/17 and 2017/18? How do educators’ decisions to stay, move, or leave school systems and/or positions vary by the characteristics of educators and school systems?; and (3) To what extent were teachers and principals in Montana employed in multiple roles within their school systems and/or within multiple school systems in 2016/17? How did patterns in holding multiple roles differ by the characteristics of school systems? To examine these questions, REL Northwest used statewide administrative data from 2016/17 and 2017/18 .Task force members were also interested in the intended mobility of educators in the following school year (2018/19), including factors associated with accepting their current position, and–for administrators–the top barriers they faced to hiring teachers. To meet this request, we examined data from an existing statewide survey of teachers, principals, and superintendents, and we provide the findings in an appendix. Task force members and other policymakers in Montana will use this information as they determine how to address the state’s educator workforce challenges. Given the high percentage of schools located in rural areas in Montana, the study findings may be useful to other states with similar demographics. Educator mobility in Montana: Understanding issues of educator shortages and turnover. Key findings: (1) Educator shortages in Montana: (a) In the 2017/18 school year, district administrators in Montana reported that 62 percent of positions in shortage subject areas, such as math and science, were difficult to fill or unable to be filled; and (b) In the 2017/18 school year, rural school system administrators reported a higher percentage of positions as difficult to fill or unable to be filled, as compared to non-rural school system administrators; (2) Educator mobility and attrition in Montana: (a) In the 2017/18 school year, 86 percent of teachers and 87 percent of principals in Montana returned to the same position and school system they were working in the previous school year; (b) Among educators who did not stay in their position and school system from 2016/17 to 2017/18, more than half left the Montana public education system; (c) The percentage of teachers who stayed in their position and school system was higher in school systems with a below-average proportion of American Indian students, school systems located in non-rural areas, and school systems with higher enrollment; (d) Among teachers who moved between school systems, more teachers moved from rural to non-rural areas (29 percent) than from non-rural to rural areas (21 percent), indicating that rural school systems lost teachers to non-rural school systems from 2016/17 to 2017/18; and (e) The percentage of principals who stayed in their position and school system was higher in school systems with a below-average proportion of American Indian students, those with lower levels of poverty, those with higher enrollment, and those located in non-rural areas; and (3) Multiple educator roles: In the 2016/17 school year, 29 percent of Montana teachers and 24 percent of principals held multiple positions. This percentage was higher in school systems located in the most remote rural areas, where 36 percent of teachers and 40 percent of principals held more than one position. [This project was conducted in partnership with the Rural Recruitment and Retention Task Force, which is convened by the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and RISE4MT (Recruiting Incredible School Educators for Montana).]

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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