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NEA Issue Explainer

Educator Pipeline

Ensuring that students in every community have caring, committed, profession-ready educators means improving strategies for recruiting, preparing, and supporting educators at all stages.
Happy college student
Published: March 31, 2022
This issue explainer originally appeared on

Strengthening the Educator Pipeline and Supporting Aspiring Educators

As of February 2022, there were 335,000 fewer public-school educators in our nation than before the pandemic; the shortage of Black and Latino teachers is especially pronounced. In fact, there are shortages across all job categories in education, from transportation to food service.

In a 2022 survey, 55 percent of NEA members said they were considering leaving the profession they love earlier than they’d planned because they feel overwhelmed and under-supported.

These shortages have been an issue for decades and now are at crisis levels in areas such as mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education. Educators love what they do—they just need more support to pursue their passion for teaching, guiding, and supporting students.

Solutions include increasing pay and benefits; creating grow-your-own programs to recruit and prepare educators to teach and work in their local communities; fully funding teacher residency programs; and providing high-quality professional development for all educators.

Yesse Cano Quote for Issue Explainer Page
“I am committed to nurturing my students’ development and advocating for everything they need and deserve, and many others are just as dedicated as I am. We need more programs to support us and strengthen our professional practice so we can be there for students, and stay in the careers we love.”
Quote by: Yesse Cano, Aspiring Educator, Oklahoma Panhandle State University and NEA Board member

Ready to stand up for public schools?

We need to build our communities. We need to fully fund public schools. We need to hold our elected leaders accountable to the people. And we need your help to make it happen.
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Our Voice Is Our Power.

We’ll advocate for fully-funded public schools. We’ll dismantle unjust systems. We’ll give our students the opportunities they need to succeed. Help us make it happen.

ISEA has toolkits to help you understand the issues and defend the rights of all students.


Leading in our schools, communities, and state.

The Iowa State Education Association works to promote, advance, and protect public education, the education profession, and the rights and interests of our members. When you join the ISEA, you’re joining forces with the power and influence of 3.2 million members nationwide.