Christopher Morphew: To Attract New Teachers, Respect Their Profession
The teacher pipeline is broken, says Christopher Morphew, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education. As teacher shortages loom across the country, the number of U.S. students majoring in education has dropped by more than 30% over the past decade. To fix the problem, Morphew says, we can’t depend on signing bonuses, pressing veterans into classroom roles, and other temporary measures. What’s needed, Morphew says, is better training, ongoing coaching, and a focus on teacher well-being.
While some states are lowering standards to attract new teachers, others, like Maryland and Massachusetts, are looking at things differently: emphasizing stronger credentials, better pay, improved working conditions, and greater professionalism.
To put theory into practice in the university’s hometown of Baltimore, Morphew has challenged his school to create a new Master of Education program that provides four years of professional support following graduation, along with loan repayment assistance for graduates willing to commit to teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools for at least four years.
Known as TeachingWell—for its unique emphasis on teacher wellness and the deep well of teaching talent being developed—the program aims to reduce financial barriers for new educators and to strengthen their mental health and career resilience, all while raising professional standards.
“This is the right direction. What we want to avoid is a race-to-the-bottom mentality that lowers the professionalism of teachers,” says Morphew. “We should be doing exactly the opposite—boosting pay, boosting wellness, and boosting respect for the profession. That will put qualified teachers back into the classrooms.”
We should be… boosting pay, boosting wellness, and boosting respect for the profession. That will put qualified teachers back into the classrooms.
Christopher C. Morphew, PhD
Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Education
EDUCATION IN FOCUS
If anything, the pandemic has inspired School of Education Dean Christopher Morphew with newfound respect for the difficult but critical job educators do. “They deserve to be paid like the professionals they are,” he says.
REPAIRING THE PIPELINE
Dean Christopher C. Morphew discusses key factors contributing to the historic shortage of teachers nationwide. “It is a pipeline issue,” he says, fueled by a pandemic-induced exodus of teachers and a decade-long decline in college enrollments.
WHO WILL TEACH OUR KIDS?
What we need to know about the teacher shortage: A panel of experts discusses critical information for educators, parents, and policymakers, including what is causing the national teacher shortage and what it means for the future of K-12 education in America.
TEACHER SHORTAGE WON’T VANISH OVERNIGHT
Dean Christopher C. Morphew talked to Politico about the increasing severity of the nationwide teacher shortage. There are no overnight solutions, Morphew says. With low pay and poor working conditions, the profession has become less desirable to candidates.
THE BLUNT TRUTH ON DEBT FORGIVENESS
Dean Christopher Morphew appeared on CNN’s The Debate to discuss debt forgiveness. While debt forgiveness’s goal of reducing inequity is a worthy objective, Morphew says, universal forgiveness is too blunt an instrument to achieve it. What’s needed is something targeted to low-income debtors.
TREAT TEACHERS AS THE PROFESSIONALS THEY ARE
Dean Christopher Morphew writes in The Washington Post about the “parental rights” movement currently gripping the national education system. Morphew says such programs undermine the qualifications and expertise of teacher nationwide. Teachers are professionals, he says, and we must treat them as such.
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