Wisconsin Public Radio

Concordia University, School Choice Wisconsin Target Teacher Shortage

Partnership will create alternative, 18-month online bachelor's degree program.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - May 1st, 2023 12:01 pm
School classroom. Pixabay License. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

School classroom. (Pixabay License).

As schools across Wisconsin face ongoing teacher shortages, School Choice Wisconsin and Concordia University are offering people with degrees an opportunity to join the profession.

The Concordia Teaching and Learning Academy, or CTLA, is an 18-month online program for Wisconsin residents with a Bachelor’s degree who want to teach in the state’s private choice schools. Enrollees are partnered with one of Wisconsin’s 373 participating schools and mentored during their education.

“They will have a mentor who will allow for them to emulate a student-teacher experience, but it’s going to be more immersive,” said School Choice Wisconsin President Nicholas Kelly. “That mentor will also be part of our CTLA program, so they’ll receive guidance from Concordia as well.”

Kelly said a survey conducted in summer 2022 by School Choice Wisconsin found there were 355 open K-12 teacher positions at the 133 Choice schools that responded. Similar research found Milwaukee Public Schools was down 230 teachers and the Madison Metropolitan School District had 140 teacher vacancies during that time frame, Kelly said.

Enrollment for the CTLA program begins in June. Kelly anticipates about 15 people in the first class, but he says it could grow to 50 in future classes. The cost is about $9,000 per person.

Target enrollees include professionals like actuaries, accountants and engineers looking for a career change or retirees.

Statewide partnerships aim to fill teacher vacancies

The partnership between School Choice Wisconsin and Concordia University is the latest in Wisconsin between K-12 educators and universities to try to address the state’s teacher shortage.
The Wisconsin Department of Instruction and other agencies including CESA 6, an Oshkosh-based cooperative agency that provides educational services to 42 public school districts in eight counties, also provides opportunities that allow people with bachelor’s degrees to get a teaching license.

Those licensing programs typically take about three years.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recently partnered with the Green Bay Area Public School District to train 15 paraprofessionals working in the district who want to become teachers. The program is paid for with a grant from the state Department of Workforce Development.

Tim Kaufman, chair of the UW-Green Bay Department of Education, told Wisconsin Public Radio‘s “The Morning Show” that K-12 schools and higher education will need to continue to work together to combat the teacher shortage.

“In education, it’s often just a reaction for more teachers,” Kaufman said. “But the focus should also be teacher retention. I think the answer to that is what Green Bay is doing, which is grow your own.”

Michael Hansen, a senior fellow in the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., said removing barriers for how people come into teaching is good, as long as those people are supported by the school they end up teaching at.

Hansen said there’s not a large difference in overall quality in teachers based on how they enter the classroom.

“What we do see is a pretty significant difference in the staying power in alternative certification versus those who come in the traditional way,” Hansen said. “Longevity is about half of those traditionally trained.”

Often those people leave sooner because they’ve been paid more in previous careers, newer teachers have to start in more difficult work environments and they are on their second careers already, he added.

Listen to the WPR report here.

School Choice Wisconsin, Concordia University partner to address teacher shortage was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

3 thoughts on “Concordia University, School Choice Wisconsin Target Teacher Shortage”

  1. ringo muldano says:

    It’s not that long ago folks. What? 12-13 years? Scotty Walker and his toadies of whitey righty knuckleheads getting their base to attack public school teachers, as if they were the problem to state and local spending. Republicans are very good at paying lip service to the value of education.

  2. mkwagner says:

    The history of public education in this country is not taught in any setting. As a result, all sorts of myths and fabrications pass as fact in discussion about school funding. Walker and his minions actually adopted the educational beliefs of the Antebellum southern ruling elite.

    The South did not have “public” education until after Brown v Topeka Board of Education ruling. Public education was considered a waste of money especially for the poor, communities of color, and working class. The power elite believed an educated population would undermine their wealth and power. Unless firmly controlled, teachers could impart such dangerous ideas as free speech, fair trials, and separation of church and state.

    History has taught us that an educated population is essential for economic growth AND effectively functioning democracy. Like in the Antebellum south, today’s uber wealthy elite are taking measures to control education (including who is permitted to receive quality education) to preserve their power and wealth.

  3. Mingus says:

    It is not a surprise that choice schools in Wisconsin are short of certified teachers even with all of the alternative certification programs that have been available for the last two decades. When Republicans systematically attacking and demonize teachers, fewer college students will choose this profession. Current teachers are now often having to deal with vague school board rules about what can’t be taught with threats of discipline, being sued by WILL for some parent complaint, or being harassed social media over most often fabricated stories. Seeing this daily in the media, potential teacher candidates are deciding that looking at another profession would be a better choice.

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