New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonpartisan think tank that seeks to drive policy change to advance economic, social, and racial justice, issued a report June 2 that delves into New Jersey’s teacher shortage.

“If New Jersey does not act soon, there will not be enough qualified candidates to replace teachers leaving the profession,” Dr. Mark Weber, the special analyst for education policy at New Jersey Policy Perspective, writes.

The 2017-2018 school year was the first time in two decades when there were fewer than 3,000 new teacher candidates, according to the report. Moreover, New Jersey’s colleges and universities lag behind most other states in producing new teacher candidates, the report states.

The report examines some of the possible causes of the teacher shortage as well as recommendations to help ease it, including:

  • Increase teacher compensation to attract the best candidates.
  • Shore up the state teacher pension system and stop degrading teacher health care benefits.
  • Streamline the process of obtaining a teacher certification as much as possible without sacrificing rigor.
  • All of the state’s teacher preparation providers should continue to work together to attract teacher candidates of color.
  • New Jersey’s leaders should commit to improving the state’s level of appreciation and regard for its educators.

Read the full report.