Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage is often called a crisis, and ahead of today’s House Education Committee hearing Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is highlighting its proposal to partner with the state with new funding, so PASSHE universities can strategically help more people become teachers and rebuild the teaching workforce.  

addressing-the-educator-workforce-shortage_800x1800.jpgThe declining number of teachers is concerning. New teacher certifications have plunged by more than 67% since 2011, and the state Department of Education issued more emergency teaching permits than new teacher certifications in 2020-21. 

The State System is seeking $112 million in new state funding, mostly for financial aid (student scholarships), so more people can afford the education to become teachers or pursue five other in-demand careers. Lowering the cost will enable more current and potential students to afford to go to college, which will strengthen and expand Pennsylvania’s teacher pipeline.  

“We strategically created this proposal to offer the most cost-effective way for the state to get more qualified teachers into classrooms,” said Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “Our plan would help to recruit potential teachers by lowering their cost to get the training and skills needed to be the great teachers that children deserve. With this plan we could fill nearly a quarter of the state’s teaching shortage.” 

PASSHE’s Proposal 
PASSHE’s plan would use $56.5 million of the $112 million from the state to provide direct financial relief (scholarships) to education students. All PASSHE education students at all PASSHE universities would receive a $1,500 scholarship. Pell-eligible (high-need) students could receive an average of $5,000, for total savings of approximately $6,500 a year. 

“State System universities started over a century ago solely to train teachers, and today nearly a quarter of the state’s education workforce are our graduates,” said Chancellor Greenstein. “We’re primed and ready to partner with the governor and General Assembly to rebuild the teaching workforce.” 

More than 17,400 education majors attend PASSHE universities, making education the second most enrolled program in the State System. 

According to the state Department of Education, the greatest need for teachers is in rural and urban districts, and in elementary education, special education, career and technical education, and STEM, among others. 

In addition to the current teacher shortage, job growth in the pre-K to 12 education field is anticipated to be 6% by 2030, requiring more than 10,000 additional teachers and educators than Pennsylvania has today. 

For more information about the State System’s plan to address labor shortages in the six high-growth fields of education, nursing, computer science, engineering, social services and business, or to see a budget request summary, visit the Advocacy Resource Center.​

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