Minnesota $400K recruitment initiative for teachers only yields 6 hires out of possible 41

Money can’t buy happiness, as the saying goes. This year, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) learned money also can’t buy teachers

MDE reported the outcome of Come Teach in Minnesota, a program designed to hire out-of-state teachers who qualify for a Tier 3 or 4 teaching licenses and belong to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

The program was also offering a $2,500 hiring bonus, $2,500 retention bonus and an additional $3,000 to teachers in a shortage area.

The total budget was $400,000 – $70,000 for administrative costs and $330,000 for incentives – enough to hire 41 new teachers.

But one year later, only six teachers have been hired. Four of those weren’t eligible to receive bonuses because they didn’t qualify for Tier 3 licensing.  

The $282,000 of unspent funds will roll over to 2023-2024, and the report concludes by recommending MDE lower the requirements for teachers of underrepresented ethnicities to receive hiring bonuses.  

But Minnesota already has one of the highest rates of under-qualified teachers, part of a larger problem nationwide. 

Poor teacher satisfaction in the state may also make it an unattractive destination for out-of-state teachers.  

In 2020, 29% of Minnesota teachers considered quitting. Among the top complaints are poor organizational environment, being overworked, and dealing with student misbehavior, bullying and violence.  

In 2022, there were also serious teacher shortages in Minneapolis and St. Paul, only exacerbating the problem. 

And even more foreboding is the 35% decline in traditional teacher-education programs. Not only are teachers leaving the profession faster, there aren’t as many coming into the profession in the first place.