each subject and grade level, the undersupply of qualified teachers could potentially affect 72,000 students.
The team’s findings on teacher supply and demand were summarized in a second technical report to the state (Keesler et al., 2008). The state officials welcomed the report, using it to target professional development courses and funding toward schools with an inadequate supply of qualified teachers. They have also raised new questions that the research team is currently addressing. At the same time, Schneider and Margaret Ropp, director of the state Center for Education Performance and Education, are sharing the report’s findings and methods, including the formula, throughout the Midwest region (Ropp et al., 2008).
In conclusion, Schneider said that the benefits of the project include a trusting, open relationship with state personnel, encouraging collaboration across universities, openness and sharing of information, and working “with a fabulous group of professionals.” The greatest challenge, however, is that the state, on the basis of its interpretation of FERPA, has not provided access to linked longitudinal student and teacher data, as the research team originally requested in 2006. Schneider described FERPA as “the shield that stops us and the barrier from getting to the places where we want to be.”
Finally, Schneider said that the project is at a much earlier stage than the databases allowing research access in Florida and North Carolina. The team is currently in the process of creating a research collaborative that will allow researchers across the state to access the teacher file and other files, and this has raised questions about who should warehouse the data. Currently, she said, the state of Michigan maintains the data, although both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan have proposed to warehouse the developing data sets. The team is also working on another technical report and collaborating with the state to study several new issues.