Dr. Hans Andrews and Dr. Greg Rockhold

Dr. Hans Andrews is the Distinguished Fellow in Community College Leadership through Olney Central College (Illinois). He is a former president of the college. He started the first dual-credit program in the country between community colleges and secondary schools.

Dr. Greg Rockhold has served on the National Association of Secondary School Principals board, as president of the New Mexico Coalition of School Administrators, and as executive director of the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals.


The U.S. continues to have a significant crisis due to over 225,000 thousand teacher shortages expected nationwide by 2025.  This total has been going up throughout the last decade.  Without some significant intervention, it continues to get worse. 

Fact:  Many Teacher Preparation Programs Have Closed

Over 60 teacher preparation programs in universities and colleges nationwide have dropped their programs. More than 1,300 such programs are hanging on by a thread. American teacher shortages have a long way to go to being solved. The low pay in far too many school districts is cited in most reports on why people are leaving teaching.   In addition, in recent years, the overloads, building leadership issues, and many other tasks asked of teachers have increased poor working conditions.

Solution: It does not appear that the university and four-year private schools can regain the loss of students enrolling in teacher preparation programs.  An expanded teacher pipeline of a significant number of the 1,200 community and technical colleges across the country could be called upon to provide a new and needed expanded teacher pipeline.

A Suggested Dialogue:  A K-12 Superintendent and a Community College President

In relatively short order, some discussions can be made to turn this situation around.  The following is a dialogue between a K-12 Superintendent and a former Community College President:

Superintendent:  I opened the fall semester of this year with 44 full-time teachers short and another 45 teacher short-term replacements as well.  The university pipeline we relied on for decades can no longer provide enough educational graduates in our state to fill the need.  We have two community colleges near our K-12 district, but they do not offer baccalaureate degrees for teaching.  What do you see that can be done to change this situation?

President:  Our community college system historically has been limited to offering two-year associate degrees.  This has, however, been changing as community needs for more baccalaureate degree graduates in several fields have surfaced in recent years.

Superintendent:  The ongoing shortages of teachers in our K-12 school districts throughout New Mexico and most other states have presented a community crisis for most of our school districts.  What are some of the areas the community and technical colleges have responded to by helping?

President:  A few years ago, there was a national shortage of Baccalaureate Degree nurses.  The community colleges were considered a possible solution if they could get approval for offering the Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing.  It was a struggle in many states to get legislative approval as the universities providing the BSN were fighting it.  With pressure from their local hospitals, medical clinics, and doctor’s offices, several states approved allowing community colleges to offer the degree.

Another area in which we took leadership to support the secondary schools was starting the dual-credit program in our state.  Over a relatively short time, the secondary schools that did not have such a program could get their local area community colleges to provide the program.  They exist in almost one hundred percent of the nation’s secondary schools.

Superintendent:  What has been done about producing teachers through the community colleges?

President:  This has been a slow process, but Florida received state approval for teaching baccalaureate degrees. It was a battle, but 27 community colleges now offer teaching degrees.  It is, however, not catching up quickly with the needs due to the large number of shortages that have been developed. The states of Washington and Oregon have also approved several programs to date.

Superintendent:  Why haven’t other states seen this same movement to get their community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in teaching?

President:  There seems to be a lack of foresight throughout the country that this could and should be happening.  If it hasn’t already, some quick planning between your state’s K-12 and community college systems must start now!

Superintendent:  We have regional superintendent offices that work with K-12 school districts.  We also have a state superintendent’s and principal’s groups that meet almost monthly.  In addition, we also have our K-12 school boards with regional and state meetings each year.  We should have started some time ago to rally these groups.  Working together, we could become a force to get legislation approved for community colleges to offer the teaching baccalaureate degrees needed throughout our state.

President:  We also have a monthly community college president’s group that meets.  Our state’s community college trustees meet in total once a year but also have regional quarterly meetings three to four times a year.  I genuinely believe that if the K-12 schools in the state press to allow us to offer baccalaureate degrees in teaching you would see a rapid and positive response. Some state and national community college leaders are pushing to offer baccalaureate degrees in our community colleges.  One such national organization is the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA).

Solution: Constant Carroll, the former chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, is credited for starting the baccalaureate degree programs in California community colleges. She said, “I will continue my efforts to ensure that California, just like Florida, can have its community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees without limitation.”  She added, “I will not rest until the state allows the community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in education.”

Fact: California community college baccalaureate degree program graduates have averaged between $10,000 and $10,500 for tuition for all four years. This has drastically cut back the need for student loans. Most community college baccalaureate degree students lived in their homes and have families and jobs.

Florida Community College Baccalaureate Degrees in Education

Florida was the first state to pass legislation allowing their state community colleges to start offering Baccalaureate Degrees in Teaching. 27 of their Community Colleges now offer Baccalaureate Degrees in Teaching.

Proposed Solution:                                        

Now is the time to move into solutions beyond current facts. Besides adding ‘patches,’ legislative solutions have been difficult to identify. The previous pipelines for preparing teachers have been unable to keep up and have experienced major enrollment declines. A few have even closed out their programs due to insufficient enrollment.

Community and technical colleges have been proposed as a practical solution for the future. Community colleges can increase the number and diversity of a future cohort of K-12 educators by serving as a central cohesive component. The answers for teacher shortages via community and technical colleges are available throughout the country in the backyards of all American K-12 school districts!

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