Rep. Cook: Focusing on teacher recruitment, retention

Posted by: McKenzie Clift  | Monday, October 5, 2015

Having spent 41 years in education, I know how important it is to have excellent teachers in the classroom. Providing a world-class education for our children starts with exceptional educators. When innovative and talented teachers populate our schools, the impact can be far reaching.

That’s why concerns over a potential teacher shortage in Indiana hit an especially emotional tone for parents, school administrators, institutions and state leaders alike. The recruitment and retention of our educators is an issue that merits an honest and robust discussion. Signs indicate the underpinnings of this problem are not as simple or as partisan as some would suggest.

The threat of a teacher shortage isn’t exclusive to Indiana. In fact, this is a national and even global issue. It is simplistic to suggest that Republican-led education reform efforts in Indiana or action by state leaders are responsible.

In order to address the root causes of this complex issue, the Indiana General Assembly has commissioned a comprehensive study to identify solutions. My colleagues and I will convene at the Statehouse on Oct. 19 to delve into the topic. You can watch the committee live at

I have already begun drafting legislation ahead of session to address the problem of teacher shortages. I also encourage you to reach out to my office and share your thoughts on this issue. With your input and the efforts of our state’s leaders, I’ll pursue practical measures to keep talented teachers in the classroom.

It is, and always will be true, that exceptional educators serve as the greatest source of strength in Indiana’s education system; vibrant teachers inspiring the next generation of talent and innovation. We owe it to our children to ensure great teachers are here to stay.

Rep. Cook represents all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.