“Leaks” in the Educator Pipeline: Wisconsin Educator Preparation Program (EPP) Completers Working in Illinois and Minnesota Public Schools
This policy brief examines one type of “leak” in the Wisconsin educator pipeline, a leak in the number of recent graduates from one of the state’s 40+ educator preparation programs (EPPs) electing to work in Illinois or Minnesota public schools. While this group is numerically small, with just 38 Wisconsin 2017-18 EPP completers working in Illinois in 2018-19 and another 287 working in Minnesota, these subgroups combined represent almost 7% of all Wisconsin EPP completers from 2017-18. Additionally, nearly one-fifth (19.8%) of Wisconsin EPP completers were not working in Wisconsin public schools the following year. Available data only allow us to look at losses for a single cohort of Wisconsin EPP completers (from 2017-18); however, the trends uncovered warrant a deeper exploration of potential patterns from other years that could constitute a "leak" in the WI educator pipeline.
A substantial portion of the 2017-18 Wisconsin EPP completers working in Illinois and Minnesota work in either (a) hard-to-staff grade/subject areas of teacher licensure, such as Special Education, Math, and Science; and/or (b) rural and urban districts which have, faced the biggest challenges in recent years in terms of attracting and retaining educators. While all “leaks” in the educator pipeline are problematic, losses of teachers in low-supply/high-demand grades and subjects and hard-to-staff rural and urban districts, are especially troubling.
For reasons discussed herein, it may be that a portion of this annual loss of Wisconsin EPP completers to neighboring states is unavoidable, for example losses resulting from the longstanding Wisconsin-Minnesota tuition reciprocity agreement. There may be little that can be done policy-wise to prevent these losses from occurring on an annual basis. We also assume that there is a corresponding set of completers from Minnesota and Illinois EPPs who are “lost” each year to jobs in Wisconsin public schools, so it may be the case that losses of this nature from each state’s educator pipeline essentially cancel each other out. At a time when educator shortages are an important topic, any “leaks” in the pipeline are significant and merit further consideration.