Systemic Supports for Family and Community Collaboration: Strengthening the Educator Workforce
For family and community collaboration (FCC) to be successful, teachers must be trained and supported to develop strong relationships with families. However, school districts have faced major challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified staff for years—especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began.1 Low wages, poor working conditions, challenging school climates, and a lack of advancement opportunities discourage people from entering the teaching profession.2, 3, 4 These same factors are also causing current teachers to leave the field, perpetuating and worsening the teacher shortage.5, 6, 7
Creating an educational workforce prepared to engage in authentic FCC requires investing in future and current teachers’ physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. When properly supported, these professionals can fully collaborate with families and community organizations to meet the needs of all students.
To address these teacher recruitment and retention challenges, we recommend that state and local education agencies embrace reforms including:
- Support early-career teachers through pre-service compensation. Just as in other professions, teachers should be paid throughout the final phases of higher education and certification, as they gain foundational knowledge in FCC. Pre-service compensation could have the dual effect of making the field more attractive to new teachers and reflecting respect for all educators.
- Strengthen loan forgiveness programs to expand and diversify the pool of incoming teachers. Offsetting the high costs of entering the teaching field can incentivize more college students to consider the profession, expanding the pool of teachers to engage with families.
- Align federal and state policies to improve teacher salaries and benefits. Fair wages and benefits provide economic incentives for educators to join and remain in the field to build long-term relationships with families.
- Improve working conditions and protect teachers’ time for FCC. Creating a healthy work environment can make schools more attractive to new teachers, support experienced teachers’ mental health, and foster supportive conditions for FCC.
This policy brief was developed as part of the FHI 360 Connected & Engaged: Supporting Family and Community Partnerships with School Districts initiative. This brief is one of a series that highlights policies, strategies, and programs that can be implemented at the local, state, or federal levels to promote successful FCC in all school districts — especially those serving students from marginalized groups and communities.
1 Nguyen, T. D., Lam, C. B., & Bruno, P. (2022). Is there a national teacher shortage? A systematic examination of reports of teacher shortages in the United States (EdWorkingPaper: 22-631). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/76eq-hj32
2 Allegretto S. The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high: Trends in teacher wages and compensation through 2021 [Internet]. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute; 2022 Aug [cited 2023 Mar 2]. Available from: https://www.epi.org/publication/teacher-pay-penalty-2022/
3 K-12 Education: Education Should Assess Its Efforts to Address Teacher Shortages [Internet]. Washington, DC: General Accountability Office; 2022 Oct [cited 2022 Nov 21]. Report No.: GAO-23-105180. Available from: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-23-105180
4 Carver-Thomas D, Darling-Hammond L. Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It [Internet]. Learning Policy Institute; 2017 Aug [cited 2023 Mar 2]. Available from: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/teacher-turnover-report
5 K-12 Education: Education Should Assess Its Efforts to Address Teacher Shortages [Internet]. Washington, DC: General Accountability Office; 2022 Oct [cited 2022 Nov 21]. Report No.: GAO-23-105180. Available from: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-23-105180
6 Garcia E, Weiss E. The teacher shortage is real, large and growing, and worse than we thought [Internet]. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute; 2019 Mar [cited 2023 Jan 20]. Available from: https://www.epi.org/publication/the-teacher-shortage-is-real-large-and-growing-and-worse-than-we-thought-the-first-report-in-the-perfect-storm-in-the-teacher-labor-market-series/
7 Carver-Thomas D, Darling-Hammond L. Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It [Internet]. Learning Policy Institute; 2017 Aug [cited 2023 Mar 2]. Available from: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/teacher-turnover-report
Browse resources on this topic in the resource library.