Maryland Superintendent Calls for Increased Efforts to Expand State’s Teacher Workforce

Maryland State Schools Superintendent Carey Wright emphasized on Tuesday the importance of enhancing diversity and increasing the teacher workforce in the state. “It’s got to be a conscious effort,” Wright stressed, highlighting the need to target Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for recruitment strategies.

The call for action from Wright follows a recent report by the state Department of Education revealing stagnant progress in the diversification of Maryland’s teacher workforce. The statistics underscore that 68% of teachers are white, while only 20% are Black and approximately 5% are Latino or Asian.

Addressing the challenges faced by school systems, Wright acknowledged the difficulty in not only hiring but also retaining teachers within the state. “We aren’t producing enough of those candidates in house, so we’ve got to be thinking about what else are we going to do,” she voiced.

To confront these issues, a work group is set to convene in two weeks to evaluate strategies for recruiting and retaining a diverse teacher workforce. This task force will involve representatives from various educational entities, including the Maryland Higher Education Commission, HBCUs, and several school districts.

In addition, Kelly Meadows, Assistant State Superintendent, emphasized the importance of cooperation among stakeholders to find solutions and address the challenges faced in Maryland’s teacher workforce. The revamped teacher-recruiting website and educational videos are among the initiatives aimed at promoting the teaching profession.

Moreover, the report highlighted that a significant number of accomplished educators with National Board Certification are concentrated in four counties: Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Howard. The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future initiative seeks to incentivize teachers with National Certification through salary increases.

Furthermore, the report indicated that a considerable percentage of conditionally certified teachers in the last five years have been Black, reflecting the diversity of communities in the state. Legislation has been passed to establish an educator recruitment, retention, and diversity dashboard to enhance transparency and awareness of workforce demographics.

The board’s unanimous approval of allocating $350,000 for a science of reading program underscores the commitment to enhance literacy skills among educators statewide. This initiative, funded by a multi-million dollar grant, aims to provide comprehensive training to educators, focusing on phonics, comprehension, and vocabulary.

Ultimately, the implementation of the science of reading program is a vital step in equipping Maryland educators with essential skills to improve student literacy and comprehension.

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