2 new initiatives aim to address Nevada’s teacher shortage

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Two new initiatives to address the ongoing teacher shortage in Nevada aim to show it’s possible to add more educators to the pool by subtracting obstacles that may otherwise prevent them from pursuing careers in the classroom.

Nevada is the first state where education platform Study.com is launching its “Keys to the Classroom” initiative, which will provide $432,000 in 600 Praxis test preparation scholarships in an effort to create a quick infusion of aspiring teachers.

Passing the Praxis standardized tests is necessary in nearly all circumstances to obtain a teacher’s license in Nevada, but it is a hurdle for many aspiring teachers.

There are talented people who struggle with the tests, said Mark Carroll, director of assessment and college effectiveness at UNLV’s College of Education. “It is certainly a barrier in the teacher pipeline.”

The second initiative announced last week by the Nevada Department of Education will create a $20.7 million “Incentivizing Pathways to Teaching” grant program, funded by federal coronavirus relief money.

The program provides stipends to those in educator preparation programs as they take classes or go through student teaching at a Nevada System of Higher Education campus or “other approved educator preparation program,” according to a news release.

Dana Bryson, senior vice president of social impact for Study.com, said such efforts show that Nevada is leading the way in combatting the nationwide problem with its advocacy for improving the teacher pipeline and addressing the shortage. That was a big reason the company picked the state for its initiative.

“There’s momentum to make very practical recommendations and also policy-based recommendations,” she said.

Study.com plans to provide licenses to its test preparation software to partners — such as school districts, colleges and universities and education nonprofits — who will then distribute them to those preparing for testing. The prospects…