Teacher incentives provided by the state and WKU amid teacher shortage

WKU aims to tackle teacher shortage crisis.
WKU aims to tackle teacher shortage crisis.(WBKO)
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 4:33 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WBKO News continues coverage of the ongoing teacher shortage crisis.

MORE: Ky. Educators express alarming concern for teacher shortage

WKU is aiming to pave the way in tackling the nationwide teacher shortage.

“Western is poised to be the national model for enrollment in educator preparation,” said Dr. Corinne Murphy, the Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Western Kentucky University.

Western Kentucky University’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences has seen a dip in overall enrollment, which is in alignment with the national trend. However, their School of Teacher Education has 40 more incoming elementary education majors for this coming fall compared to last year. Additionally, they’re seeing growth in their graduate degree program with over 150 students there that are seeking initial licensure this year.

Dean Murphy is hopeful about the progress and numbers, but understands the harsh reality of the teacher shortage and the consequences our future generations will face if not properly addressed.

“The more that we can do as a state to recognize, continue the conversation that we need to incentivize recruitment, we need to incentivize retention. And we need to incentivize really progression through the education profession,” she said.

Murphy, along with other educators, believes state lawmakers must address the teacher shortage in the next session and provide solutions such as additional incentives for teachers.

“Very rarely do you hear that a teacher is left because of the kids, you hear that teachers have left because of the hours that they have to work or the lack of materials and resources or the lack of opportunity for growth,” said Murphy.

Meanwhile, WKU is taking action by offering its own incentives for future teachers and is seeking partnerships with local school districts in order to do so. For every dollar that a school district is willing to invest in one of their staff members to become a teacher, the college will match that.

“And so we have staff members in districts right now who are enrolled in our educator preparation programs, who are either only paying a third of the total cost or not paying it all because Western has matched dollar for dollar,” explained Murphy.

One current statewide incentive created by the legislature is the National Board Certification incentive. If you are a national board-certified teacher, you will receive a $2,500 stipend each year as a function of that advanced licensure.

And at WKU, there is an educator rate of $350 per credit hour which is one of the lowest rates within the region. That rate is applied to both current educators within Kentucky, but also all of the surrounding states.

WBKO News will continue to follow along with the current teacher shortage crisis and the potential solutions that follow.

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