An Envision Utah-facilitated task force of education, business, and state leaders has offered recommendations for adjustments to teacher compensation (and other aspects of the profession) that will attract the state’s best and brightest teachers into the classroom and retain them long-term.
The vision, which does not make explicit policy proposals, comes after several months of collaboration with legislative leadership, the Governor’s Office, local leaders in education and business, the Utah Education Association, and Utah’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.
The project originated with efforts to understand and address the statewide teacher shortage and improve student outcomes—ensuring that students have the knowledge and skills they need to face life’s challenges, get a good job, and be good members of the community.
“If we want to be the strongest economy in the nation, we need to give our kids the best education possible — and Utah’s teachers are key to providing that kind of world-class education.” Gov. Gary Herbert said regarding the report. “Teachers are deserving of our best efforts. In an already competitive job market, it’s critical that we know what it takes both to recruit and to retain exceptional teachers.”
The vision breaks the recommendations into two categories: stabilization and optimization. It points out that in order to maximize teacher effectiveness and student learning, Utah first needs to address its teacher shortage. Within each category, several specific recommendations are made:
Raise pay for all teachers to an average starting salary of $60K and average pay of $110K by
Strengthen teacher induction programs
Provide more scholarships for teaching majors at Utah colleges and universities
Provide the option for teachers to work more days with commensurate pay
Build stronger career pathways so teaching becomes a more dynamic career
Ensure class sizes are effective
Provide adequate support professionals (counselors for teachers and students, aides, nurses, etc.)
Encourage greater family support for teachers
The report also discusses research about the importance of teachers, costs for each strategy, and the process for developing the vision. It’s available on the organization’s website at www.envisionutah.org