Lawmakers hear possible solutions for New Mexico’s teacher shortage

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SANTA ROSA, N.M. — During a meeting in Santa Rosa Thursday morning, lawmakers on the Legislative Education Study Committee heard from the experts about our state’s ongoing teacher shortage.

“Unfortunately there’s not a single solution to teacher retention challenges,” said Emily Hoxie, a senior policy analyst for the committee. “Research tells us focusing on teacher retention and the ecosystem of support that encompasses educators requires focusing on issues surrounding compensation and preparation and working conditions.”

According to the American Federation of Teachers, more than 1,000 licensed educator positions are unfilled in our state.

“Our teachers felt in our survey – feel that in combination with an overbearing workload, demanding hours outside of contact hours, lack of planning and preparation time, as well as some school leadership and climate and culture of their building, has led them to consider leaving or have maybe even left the profession,” said Aimee Para with Teach Plus New Mexico.

Educators with Teach Plus New Mexico told lawmakers better teacher training and professional learning is one way to help keep teachers in the classroom.

“Teachers being able to identify their needs and choose what is best for them to grow in their practice is something that is a real focus for us in terms of retaining teachers. A third really feel like that is something that is critical to their being able to stay,” said Alisa Cooper De Uribe.

Lawmakers can use some of these ideas to help craft legislation during next year’s session.