University of Alaska report details teacher preparation, retention and recruitment challenges

by Michelle Saport  |   

The University of Alaska recently presented the Alaska Legislature with a report highlighting the university's efforts to help Alaska's public schools attract, train and retain qualified teachers. The report titled "Alaska's University for Alaska's Schools 2013" is part of the University of Alaska's commitment to engage Alaskans in a conversation about the challenges and progress being made in Alaska's schools.

The report, prepared by the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) in conjunction with the University of Alaska Deans of Education, shows:

  • High teacher turnover continues to exist in rural Alaskan communities, but there is clear evidence that teacher mentoring reduces turnover. (page 9)
  • New findings revealing why many University of Alaska teacher education graduates are not teaching immediately after graduation. (page 21)
  • Positive gains in graduating more special education teachers and counselors. (page 18)
  • The university is graduating more teachers today than it has in the last six years. (page 16)

A number of Alaska teacher education trends mirror national trends. There are more certified teachers in the nation than there are positions available, but there are still shortages for teachers in certain areas such as high school math, high school physical science and special education, as well as geographic locations. For Alaska, there is a lack of comparable wages with other states and more difficult working conditions.

The university is partnering with Alaska's schools to meet these challenges, focusing on equalizing conditions across districts and attracting teachers to schools where their skills are most needed.

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