INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced Monday that Indiana has seen and 18% increase in the number of educators earning initial practitioner licenses between 2015 and 2016.

In 2012, new high stakes such as teacher pay were tied to student performance on inefficient tests like ISTEP+. In addition, Indiana also changed its compensation structure for educators, taking away local control and flexibility. The state began to see a sharp decline in the number of individuals entering the teaching profession. Between 2012 and 2015, Indiana saw a more than 34% decline in the number of individuals receiving practitioner licenses.

“With a majority of school corporation’s reporting a teacher shortage in their district, now more that ever, Indiana needs more individuals to choose teaching as a profession,” Ritz said in a press release from the Department of Education. “While today’s numbers do not fully solve the shortage, they reflect our strong state commitment and work to support the education profession over the past four years.”

To address this critical shortage, Superintendant Ritz formed the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Recruitment and Retention of Excellent Educators. The commission implements data-driven, research-based, educator-developed recommendations to the legislature. Many of the initial licenses in the data were likely freshman in college when Ritz came into office, according to the press release.

For more information, visit Department of Education.