David Knight, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UTEP College of Education, has received a $499,875 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study teacher preparation programs and teacher labor markets in Texas during the last 20 years.
Knight, associate director of UTEP’s Center for Education Research and Policy Studies (CERPS), will lead the interdisciplinary project with co-principal investigators Sara Grineski, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts; and Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., professor of economics and finance in the College of Business Administration.
The project, titled “Building Capacity for Interdisciplinary Analysis of Longitudinal Data for Education Policy Research: Understanding Science and Math Teacher Labor Market Pipelines,” will examine longitudinal data of Texas teachers in the educator career pipeline over a period of 20 years. This will include studying the qualifications and racial diversity of teacher preparation program graduates, their initial job placements, and the job characteristics and salaries of teachers who leave the profession to work in the private sector.
The data also will be used to determine whether regions in Texas are producing enough math and science teachers to meet the demand. Researchers will analyze the factors leading to math and science teacher attrition, including wage opportunities in external labor markets. The study also will explore whether historically underserved students have equitable access to high-quality math and science teachers.
“This project spans boundaries between K-12 and higher education that academic and practitioner communities increasingly see as artificial divides,” Knight said. “Teacher candidates who enter preparation programs are recent graduates from the K-12 system. When they re-enter that system as licensed educators, they prepare the next generation of teachers. The study will inform policies around teacher preparation, hiring and retention. Through this work, our long-term goal is to identify policies that improve educational opportunities for students in our local region and nationally.”
This is the second NSF grant Knight has been awarded this year.
The study is part of CERPS’ efforts to build capacity for data-intensive research in education policy in the College of Education.