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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

ND task force zeroes in on teacher recruitment

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Monday, February 19, 2024   

This coming Thursday, a new task force will meet to advance discussions about boosting teacher recruitment and retention in North Dakota.

The panel was announced by Gov. Doug Burgum last fall as stakeholders noted that, like other states, North Dakota continues to deal with an educator shortage.

One task force member is Bret Dockter, an elementary school teacher from Harvey and the 2022 North Dakota Teacher of the Year.

He said when was starting his career, an opening for a job like his often attracted many candidates. But he said schools, especially in rural areas, aren't as lucky these days.

"Now, we have jobs that we maybe get one applicant for, or we don't even get applicants for," said Dockter. "And so, I think we all are looking for a way to promote this great profession that we have."

He said it's a tall order because, from his perspective, he still sees a lot of burnout among colleagues, related to the pandemic.

Dockter said he hopes things like teacher pay are brought up in the discussions, but he said he's excited to hear ideas from other task force members.

The panel is required to submit recommendations later this year.

Ahead of any long-term solutions, Dockter said smaller districts will continue to see educators take on extra duties.

"I have a bus license, and I've been subbing once in a while after school," said Dockter, "just because they have such limited resources there."

Dockter also is a member of North Dakota United, the state's largest teacher's union.

Beyond better pay, union leaders hope the task force looks at things like adequate staffing levels and less burdensome pathways to teacher licensure.



Disclosure: North Dakota United contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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