Indiana schooling officers working with schools to recruit extra lecturers

INDIANAPOLIS – Just weeks before school starts, Indiana education officials are working to address the state’s teacher shortage.

The Indiana Department of Education is working with several colleges and universities to fill more apprenticeship positions.

Indiana is struggling to get teachers into the classrooms, according to data released earlier this year. Part of the problem is the shortage of college graduates entering the field.

“About one in six students who begin an education program in Indiana actually ends up in an Indiana classroom,” said Holly Lawson, assistant director of communications for the Indiana Department of Education. “Only 1 out of 6.”

Above all, the state needs more color teachers, Lawson said. About 6% of new teachers in Indiana are from diverse backgrounds, she said.

“It is clear that we still have work to do,” said Lawson.

State officials are looking for new ways to improve the Indiana teacher pipeline. One of these is a new program from Ivy Tech Community College and Marian University, where students earn their associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees within three to four years of high school for careers in education.

“We were able to freeze tuition this year,” said Ivy Tech Provost Kara Monroe. “And this year we’re including books in the tuition fees for all students. So this is a great time if you want to become a teacher to get back to school. “

Students on the program can begin classes in high school and earn the three degrees for a total of no more than $ 45,000.

Officials hope to enroll 100 students to start the program this fall, and eventually 500 a year.

“We want these teachers to be much larger in number, especially in the areas of high need – special editing, science, and so on,” said Daniel Elsener, president of Marian University. “And we want them to come from different backgrounds.”

IDOE is optimistic that these efforts, combined with an increase in teacher salaries, will change things.

“I think we are taking positive steps. We are working to increase the value of education in our communities, ”Lawson said.

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