Carthage joins forces with RUSD, UW-Parkside to combat teacher shortages in area schools
Carthage College, Racine Unified School District, and University of Wisconsin-Parkside have announced that they are partnering in a new Education Pathway Initiative to help combat the teacher shortage in area schools.
The Education Pathway Initiative was announced at a formal signing on Thursday, May 5 at William Horlick High School, 2119 Rapids Drive, Racine, to coincide with Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs through Friday, May 6.
Starting in the fall, students in the education pathway at the RUSD Academies of Racine (Case, Horlick, and Washington Park high schools) will be eligible to earn up to one semester of college credit through concurrent enrollment courses. The initiative paves the way for students to attend a post-secondary institution after graduation. UW-Parkside and Carthage College have committed to ensuring credits earned will transfer between institutions and apply toward a college degree.
“UW-Parkside is excited to partner with RUSD and Carthage College to offer a vital education pathway that will make a difference in ensuring students in our region have equitable access to a post-secondary education,” said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. “We’re proud to make this announcement during Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when we recognize the amazing contributions of our nation’s teachers.”
The initiative builds on the work of RUSD and Higher Expectations for Racine County, which have launched additional initiatives to address the teacher shortage. The goal of the new partnership is to create a more seamless pathway for students interested in elementary or secondary education to gain real-world experience as they explore the field of education and increase the number of credits students can earn while still in high school, at no cost to the students.
“We know that RUSD hires many, many new teachers every year,” said Carthage College President John Swallow. “Through this pathway, we will encourage and educate more Racine high school students to take these positions in their home community, supporting public education in Racine and, we believe, reducing teacher turnover.”
“RUSD is extremely fortunate to have such strong partnerships with Carthage and UW-Parkside,” said RUSD Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien. “This initiative allows us to take our Education Pathway Initiative to the next level in terms of providing hands-on learning opportunities and ensuring our graduates are one step ahead when they enter college.”
It is the hope that the Education Pathway Initiative can serve as a national model for giving students a pathway to college and career success.
“It’s rare to see an education pathway locally where students can earn this level of credits and where post-secondary institutions have collaborated to ensure that the credits will transfer between institutions,” said DeAnn Possehl, UW-Parkside Assistant Provost for Student Success.
“This new Education Pathway Initiative is an exciting opportunity to help more Racine students achieve their dreams of becoming educators,” said Nick Mulvey, Carthage College Vice President for Enrollment. “We are excited to work with local students and RUSD in this effort to increase access to higher education and to help prepare more teachers for their important careers.”
The initiative is being launched in the wake of growing teacher shortages across the state. According to a report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, teaching preparation programs statewide have seen a continuing decline in teaching candidates in recent years. The problem is particularly acute among minorities. This occurs as the percentage of K-12 students of color has grown substantially, the report said. RUSD reports teacher shortages similar to shortages experienced statewide. Research has found that participation in dual credit opportunities in high school correlates with graduation rates, college-going, and degree attainment, particularly for low-income students.