Public school teachers in the Milwaukee area are leaving the profession at a higher rate than the state as a whole, and Wisconsin’s teacher preparation programs are not enrolling enough candidates to fill their shoes in the classroom, according to a new report released Monday by the nonprofit Public Policy Forum.
The report suggests several potential reasons for the departures, including pay — from low starting salaries to capped raises — burnout, increasing accountability requirements, promotions and family obligations.
And it offers a number of policy options for retaining teachers and increasing the supply, including loan forgiveness programs for college debt, higher salaries and part-time positions to accommodate teachers who leave for family reasons.
“Help Wanted: An Analysis of the Teacher Pipeline in Metro Milwaukee” is the last in a three-part series by the forum that has looked at local workforce trends for teachers and principals.
According to the report, 700 teachers, or nearly 5%, left the profession in the four-county Milwaukee area between 2009 and 2014, nearly half of the 1,478 statewide total, while the student population held relatively steady.
At the same time, it says, enrollments in Wisconsin’s teacher education programs fell nearly 28%, from 12,323 students in 2008-’09 to 8,887 in 2013-’14, the most recent year available. The number of graduates from those programs fell 6.6%.