September 21, 2023

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at

This is part two in a two-part series. Part one focused on four major challenges facing the teaching profession. Sign up for Chalkbeat’s free weekly newsletter to get these stories and more delivered straight to your inbox.

America’s schools face a number of warning signs about the teaching profession: higher turnover, lower morale, declining interest in the profession among college students, persistent shortages in certain subjects. These problems could have big consequences for students.

“I don’t want to sound alarmist, but it’s been bad,” said Luis Rodriguez, an education researcher at New York University. “The concerning thing is that we as a nation aren’t doing anything systematic to address some of these causes.”

So what should policymakers do?

Chalkbeat reviewed dozens of studies and spoke to a number of researchers and teachers. Although there are no foolproof answers for strengthening the profession and improving teacher quality, the following are some ideas that research suggests might help.

Raise early- and mid-career teacher salaries

There is substantial evidence suggesting that higher pay attracts more talented people into the classroom and keeps them there. But teachers’ take-home pay has fallen further and further behind other college-educated workers’. Surveys show that relatively low pay is a source of frustration among teachers and deters college and high school students from choosing the profession.

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