News 8 Investigates: Finding solutions for Wisconsin’s teacher shortage

A nationwide teacher shortage has some university leaders in Wisconsin taking action.

The University of Wisconsin System and Viterbo University in La Crosse are creating plans to help attract and retain teachers in our state.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of people graduating with bachelor’s degrees in the University of Wisconsin system in elementary education declined by 23% between 2006 and 2017.

When it comes to secondary education, the decline was at 18% during the same time frame.

Viterbo University is seeing the same trend.

It had a 25% decline in students graduating with elementary education degrees in the last 10 years.

The decline is at 50% for students graduating with secondary education degrees.

To help reverse this trend, a UW System Task Force is presenting ways to recruit and retain teachers to the Board of Regents this month and Viterbo University has already started implementing its own plans.

The UW System Task Force for Advancing Teachers and School Leaders is made up of six members, including Carmen Manning, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at UW-Eau Claire.

“This initiative is about attracting and retaining teachers, but it’s also about attracting and retaining high quality leadership,” said Manning.

Sara Cook, dean of the College of Education, Engineering, Letters and Sciences at Viterbo University, said the school has already started implementing plans to help recruit teachers into the profession.

“This is such a critical component to transforming kids’ lives and to shaping families, which are the heart of communities,” said Cook. “Viterbo’s strength and priority is being a good partner to its community. I can’t think of a more important thing for us to be focusing our efforts on.”

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