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Shift 1

Reduce barriers to careers in education while preserving standards of excellence.

Career pathways, such as Grow Your Own (GYO), aim to prepare individuals from the community to work within the community. Nearly every state has at least one educator GYO program (Garcia, 2020), and these pathways provide a valuable conduit to careers in education. Despite these efforts, the pipeline of future educators is unable to keep pace with the demand in education. Additional attention is needed to identify opportunities to expand the talent pipeline in existing programs while maintaining high standards. This involves examining candidates’ journeys through pathways to uncover barriers that prevent them from completing programs, as well as identifying impediments that dissuade individuals from enrolling in pathway programs.

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High-Level Recommendations

Transparent Workforce Data

Publish accurate and timely data on career options in education (e.g., supply/demand, preparation program completion).


Preparation Programs Completion

 Assist prospective educators with overcoming barriers (e.g., costs, transportation, childcare, duration, unpaid/low wage internships) to beginning and/or completing programs.

Data-Driven Career Counseling

Help prospective educators use workforce data to make career decisions.

Preparation Program Alignment

Ensure programs adequately prepare candidates for job requirements.


Decrease educator preparation expenses through a variety of programs (e.g., student loan forgiveness, program cost reductions and scholarship programs).

Licensure & Certification

Addressed hurdles to obtaining licensure and certification (e.g., costs, understanding the process, options for licensure attainment) while expanding licensure reciprocity both nationally and internationally. 

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41% of former teachers cited the ability to seamlessly transfer their license between states as a factor in deciding whether to return to the classroom. 

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

Transparent Workforce Data

  • Reduce the lag time in releasing Title II Reports containing national teacher preparation data.

  • Facilitate the collection and reporting of educator supply and demand data by state.

Increased Affordability

  • Incentivize institutes of higher education and alternative preparation programs to reduce costs for educator preparation programs.

  • Develop a national scholarship program that helps individuals who commit to working in K-12 education to pay for graduate school and/or training programs. This could mimic the GI Bill that helps qualifying veterans and their family members cover all or some of the costs for school or training.

  • Make college student loan or alternative preparation program debt forgiveness easier to attain and increase the forgiveness amounts for individuals in education careers.

Preparation Program Completion & Alignment

  • Support innovative preparation programs and pathways designed to address barriers and improve educator outcomes through expanded funding, research, and highlighting promising programs.

Licensure & Certification

  • Develop a national licensure process for educators (e.g., FAA certification rules for pilots).

  • Facilitate the development of a traveling teacher program modeled after travel nurse positions.

  • Streamline visa application processes for educator shortage areas. 

- Highlighted Promising Practice -

Licensure Flexibility

The U.S. Department of Defense engages states through the Defense-State Liaison Office (DSLO) to consider improvements to teacher licensure and certification for military spouses. To better accommodate military spouses, who move an average of every three years, DSLO asked states to consider three avenues to help them continue careers in education: maximize flexibility when accepting existing standard certificates, treat alternative licensure from another state as equivalent to alternative licensure in the new state and establish special temporary certificates that last the duration of a military assignment. Additionally, DSLO asked states to consider expediting applications from military spouses and eliminating burdensome requirements.

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