Prairie Public News

North Dakota continues to experience teacher shortages.

Many school districts have had to go outside North Dakota to recruit teachers. And the state’s Education Standards and Practices Board says for this year, it has licensed more teachers from outside the state than it has in-state college graduates.
Valley City State University officials say they’re working to meet the needs.

“We have 290 elementary education majors, and 250 secondary majors (at Valley City State),” said Gary Thompson, the dean of the school of education at Valley City State. “But I guess we’re still not meeting the needs of what the state needs right now.”
Thompson says the rapid growth out west and the number of baby-boomer retirements is outstripping the number of people enrolled in teacher education programs.

Valley City is working with NDSU and Minnesota State University Moorhead to recruit teachers. The schools call it the “Valley Partnership.”

“We’ve done some work with common assessments, with common student teaching, and we’ve shared ideas that make each other stronger,” said VCSU associate professor Alan Olson. “People have to have a passion for it. Teachers are not always the highest paid professionals — and if you’re strong in math or science, there can be higher paying careers  beyond classroom teaching.”
Olson and Thompson say all teacher education programs in North Dakota work together to try and solve the problem.