Focus Sharpens on Teacher Shortage Debate

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Ohlemiller says the state needs to "elevate the teaching profession." Ohlemiller says the state needs to "elevate the teaching profession."
INDIANAPOLIS -

The executive director of Stand For Children Indiana says while the state may have enough "people with a pulse to stick in front of a classroom," he believes there is a teacher shortage in areas like STEM and special education and in some rural and urban districts. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Justin Ohlemiller called on state legislators to improve incentives aimed at addressing the issue.

He says he would like to see a legislative package that would fund loan forgiveness programs and efforts to promote teaching as a career for minority students.

Ohlemiller says the state also needs to "elevate the teaching profession" by giving teachers more clear paths to rise in the ranks and make more money. He believes the debate over whether there is a teacher shortage has put the issue on legislators' radars, and hopes it will motivate them to support efforts to "bolster our pipeline" in the teaching profession.

Not everyone agrees on the urgency of the issue. In a report from Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research released last year, researchers concluded "teaching in Indiana has been among the most stable occupations in the state over the past 30 years." CBER Director Michael Hicks says there has been a "long history of alarmism over teacher shortages" in Indiana and throughout the United States.

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