Building a Better Student-to-Teacher Pipeline Can Ease Staffing Crisis

Op-ed By Senator Vincent Hughes and Sharif El-Mekki

A decade ago, Pennsylvania certified 20,000 new teachers.  Last year, that number was down to 6,000.  Chronic understaffing, along with underfunding, is driving increased burnout and shorter teaching careers.

That loss of teachers is particularly concerning among communities of color which make up 37 percent of the student body, but only 7 percent of teachers.

Simply put, Pennsylvania’s teacher workforce is not keeping up with a rapidly diversifying student body, leading to a classroom experience that is less than ideal for both the teacher and the student.