Schools Superintendent Testifies on Teacher Recruitment
by Shamane Mills
An education task force created by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to come up with ways to improve public education in urban areas of the state held its first meeting Tuesday.
At the first of five planned meetings, the task force talked about teacher recruitment and retention. Jennifer Cheatham, the superintendent of Madison schools, testified before the lawmakers at the state Capitol, saying that it’s hard to find bilingual teachers, music instructors and educators who look like the students they teach.
“Diversifying the candidate pool and identifying candidates for hard-to-staff areas can be a real challenge, especially in urban districts,” she said.
Cheatham said the state could help by providing tuition assistance so non-licensed educators could get their teaching license in places where educators are most needed.
Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, who chairs the task force, said the task force plans to also discuss early childhood education, mental health and behavioral problems at its four other meetings. In addition, she said the lawmakers will tour six urban schools districts around Wisconsin — namely, districts in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha, Green Bay and Eau Claire.
“These districts represent about 20 percent of Wisconsin’s total student population and obviously our future workforce. Each of these districts has a student population that is considered economically disadvantaged,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has previously said that the task force will not be looking at private vouchers as part of its work.
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