The Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report, Teacher and Professional Staff Shortages and Equity in Education, following a series of web hearings held in the spring of 2023. During this study, the Committee heard testimony and received written statements from individuals about if whether shortages of teachers and other education professionals create inequities in the areas of access, quality of teaching, student learning, and student discipline. This report was inspired by findings identified in their previous report focused on the impact of COVID-19 on students in Nevada schools.
Through the testimony they received, the Committee identified themes and highlighted recommendations for the Commission’s consideration. In particular, the Committee observed: 1) the importance of workforce development efforts for school staff, 2) lack of behavioral and mental health resources, and 3) concerns with the prevalence of school violence amidst shortages in education and behavioral health professionals.
The recommendations noted in the report are directed to the Commission and asks for corrective actions from stakeholders including the U.S. Department of Education, Nevada Governor, Nevada Legislature, and the 17 Nevada School Superintendents.
Nevada Advisory Committee Vice Chair, Sondra Cosgrove said: “Nevada's teacher shortage is growing and exacerbating many serious problems in our public education system. Low pay is certainly a contributing factor, but it is only one of many issues causing teachers and paraprofessionals to leave our school districts. Our committee found that recruiting more teachers while failing to retain current teachers will only accelerate the crumbling of our education infrastructure. We must do better on many fronts.”