COVID-19 and the Composition of the Massachusetts Teacher Workforce
Authors: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Olivia Chi, and Alexis Orellana
The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented disruption for school systems, educators, and the students they serve. The pandemic-related challenges and connected policy responses have the potential to alter the supply of and demand for teachers, both in the short and long-term. The following analyses examine the extent to which the composition of the teacher workforce changed in Massachusetts during various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional work underway, in continued partnership with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, will also examine more comprehensively the impact of the emergency license on the composition of the workforce and on teaching and learning in the Commonwealth.
Click into each time period below for a summary of key findings and links to policy reports, summary presentations and working papers.
18 Months Into the Pandemic (Fall 2021)
Turnover increased by 15-20% after 18 months of the pandemic (Fall 2021).
The turnover increases in Fall 2021 were largest among white teachers and early-career teachers.
During the pandemic, newly-hired teachers have been more racially/ethnically diverse than in prior years, particularly among teachers holding emergency licenses.
Increased turnover among white teachers and an increased hiring of teachers of color has yielded small increases to the diversity of the workforce
6 Months Into the Pandemic (Fall 2020)
- Teacher turnover remained stable over the last five years in Massachusetts, though some districts, particularly in the western part of the state, did see higher rates of turnover between Spring 2020 and Fall 2020
- A larger share of early-career teachers, Black and Latinx teachers, and teachers in high-poverty schools stayed than in prior years. In contrast, there were small increases in turnover among the most experienced teachers, White teachers, and teachers in schools serving the most economically advantaged student populations.
- Racial and ethnic diversity continues to increase among newly hired teachers in Massachusetts, driven in part during 2020-21 by the creation of the emergency license in the state.