There is nothing more important than ensuring that every student has access to a high quality, culturally-responsive teacher. Teacher shortages in rural and low-income school districts have had a pronounced and negative impact on Native students. Data on enrollment in teacher prep programs indicates the number of educators entering the teaching profession is decreasing dramatically. Since 2009, national enrollment rates in teacher training programs has declined over 36%. Due to the rural and isolated locations of many reservation schools, recruiting and retaining effective teachers are challenges school leadership face every school year.
Teacher shortages present lasting impacts on the educational attainment of students. These shortages increase classroom sizes, making it difficult for students to receive the individual attention and assistance needed, negatively impacting student achievement.
In 2016, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) implemented a national strategy to support the training and employment of effective and culturally-responsive teachers in Native-serving schools by launching the NIEA Teacher Initiative (Initiative). A main component of the Initiative was the creation of a new centralized website, teach.niea.org, which supports the recruitment of teachers for Native-serving schools to combat the growing teacher shortage crisis. Within this website, NIEA houses a centralized Teacher Job Board, which makes the recruitment process easier to navigate, and equips educators with the professional development opportunities, resources, and tools needed to support Native students. The Teacher Job Board serves as an important resource to match quality teachers with available positions within Native-serving schools.
The state of New Mexico is in need of 476 teachers, many of whom are needed in school districts that serve the nearly 35,000 Native students in the state. With 23 federally recognized tribes in the state, New Mexico represents a key stakeholder, and important partner, in the quest to ensure Native students have access to a high quality education.
As part of an ongoing partnership, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has announced it will post all available teaching positions on the NIEA Teacher Job Board. This partnership represents the first time a state public education department has invested in the recruitment of teachers for Native-serving schools. The participation of New Mexico in the Initiative shows New Mexico's investment in creating positive and safe learning environments for Native students.
The partnership is a result of the state of New Mexico's recent announcement of a $1 million dollar investment in teacher recruitment.
The Secretary of Education for New Mexico Chris Ruszkowski said, "
"Our school communities across New Mexico must be competitive in recruiting high-potential teachers, and we have worked diligently to identify additional resources to make that happen."
NIEA President Dr. Jolene Bowman said of the announcement,
"It is important that states like New Mexico, with large and thriving Native communities, continue to partner with Native organizations and tribes to find opportunities for collaboration. Through partnerships like this, we can ensure Native students are given the opportunity to thrive in the classroom and beyond."
About the NIEA Job Board
NIEA is invested in ensuring that schools, especially those with high Native student populations, find effective educators. NIEA has developed the first-ever online job board where Native-serving schools can post job opportunities available across the United States. By making the recruitment process easier to navigate, and equipping educators with the professional development opportunities, resources, and culturally responsive tools needed to support Native students, we can ensure Native students are given the opportunity to thrive in the classroom and beyond.