The Need is Now: Dealing with Minnesota’s Teacher Shortage (2000)

Hundreds of Minnesota urban, suburban and rural principals had major problems when they tried to hire
strong teachers for the current school year. Their experiences and their suggestions about what should be done to attract and retain strong teachers open this report. We offer the views of 710 Minnesota
public school principals, representing schools serving more than 50% of Minnesota public school students.

More than 90% of the principals reported a serious shortage of strong candidates in at least one curriculum area. Thus, the possible future shortage of teachers discussed in several recent reports is not just a projection. It’s a reality, now, today. Principals confirm that there is not an overall shortage of strong candidates. The largest number of shortages are in fields such as math, science, special education and industrial arts, as well as teachers of color. In addition, more than 4,000 Minnesota teachers a year are leaving the profession before retirement. Principals are much more likely to describe the average teacher leaving the profession as effective or highly effective (57%), rather than ineffective (6%). Principals made several suggestions about what should be done. The Center agrees with the more than
80% of the principals responding who endorsed:

  • Loan forgiveness and scholarships for people entering high need fields of teaching
  • Creation of mentor programs to help retain people once they enter teaching
  • Higher placement on salary schedules for people with specialties in high demand
  • Greater flexibility of salary schedules

This report notes that the state has not made improving student achievement the highest priority of public education. This has led to significant problems in attracting and retaining enough strong teachers.

For more, access the full report here.


To read the full report, please click on the download link above.