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Shift 4

Strengthen educators' sense of purpose, belonging, and connection.

As employees across industries resign from their jobs, researchers have been able to pinpoint a few trends. The top predictor of resignations is a toxic organizational culture (Sull, D., Sull, C., & Zweig, B., 2022). By and large, people are leaving their organizations in search of jobs that offer more than just compensation. Employees are in search of positions and organizations that ignite their sense of purpose, offer true spaces of belonging, and encourage them to connect with others. In response to the educator shortage, as an industry, it’s important to move away from creating and investing in programs that focus merely on employee wellness rather than overall well-being. Now is the time to lean into developing programs and HC processes that offer purpose, belonging, and connection opportunities for educators. 


High-Level Recommendations

Meaningful Work

Help educators feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.


Maximize educator voice and choice.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)

Build a welcoming workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Community Building

Provide opportunities for educators to build supportive social relationships (e.g., professional networks, employee resource groups).

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Across age and salary groups, more than 9 out of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work. 

Promising Practices

The following examples are shared strategies and practices that are working to address the educator shortage. Partnerships between PK-12, higher education and Departments of Education and Labor were encouraged. To read summaries of all Promising Practices, please click the button below.

Sample Stakeholder Actions

Meaningful Work

  • Emphasize the opportunity for educators to engage in public service and give back to the community.

  • Profile educators and share their stories of what makes work meaningful for them.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

  • Provide technical assistance and guidance for compliance with legislation related to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

  • Help districts understand how to use Title funds to increase diversity in the educator workforce.

  • Provide funding to strengthen educator preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Community Building

  • Create a fellowship program that enables educators to engage in projects to have a greater impact on the education profession. 

- Highlighted Promising Practice -

Community Building

During the 2018-19 school year, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC) at Arizona State University piloted a new approach to internships and residencies in partnership with two school districts facing severe teacher shortages.

Rather than the traditional 1-to-1 mentor model, this professional pathway model builds teams of two to three students who work together across multiple classrooms under the direct supervision of an experienced certified teacher. Each team is supported by a Site Lead, who is a member of the MLFTC faculty.

The team model strengthens the systems of support that teacher candidates receive in their internships and residencies and provides candidates with opportunities to work collaboratively to resolve challenges they encounter. 

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