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Justin Trinidad

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Justin Trinidad
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Justin Trinidad is an analyst with Bellwether Education Partners on the Policy and Evaluation team. Since joining the team, Justin has worked on a variety of issues including teacher preparation, policies affecting youth who have experienced significant disruptions in their education, and political landscape analysis. Prior to Bellwether, Justin served as an adviser at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), where he worked on the community engagement and intergovernmental affairs teams to connect the AAPI community to important federal government resources. Before joining the Initiative, Justin was the Civil Rights Fellow at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, where he managed the organization’s education policy portfolio which focused on AAPI data disaggregation in the passage and implementation of the Every Students Succeeds Act, undocumented student access to higher education, and college access and affordability. Justin received his bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. 

Why I do this work: As a first generation Filipino-American immigrant and a product of Virginia’s public school system, I want to help ensure that all students, regardless of where they come from or where they live, have the same access and opportunities. 


Recent Media

Kaitlin Pennington McVey
Justin Trinidad

National dialogue about teacher shortages is skewed by a flawed view that the issue is one generic problem. Reports in the 1980s and ’90s predicted a national teacher shortage crisis, but since then, teacher supply has actually kept up with student enrollment, creating a much less dire situation across subject areas. Today, shortages are a more localized issue.

In "Nuance in the Noise: The Complex Reality of Teacher Shortages" we analyze the U.S. Department of Education’s national data on teacher shortage areas reported by individual states and territories between the 1998-99 and 2017-18 school years. While our analysis confirms the existence of certain national trends, the data also show that there are significant differences in teacher shortages by subject area and across states due to a mismatch between teacher supply and demand.

Frequently reported shortage areas for many states include special education, mathematics, science, and English as a second language. Less discussed subject areas, including foreign languages, career technologies, and the arts, were also frequently reported as shortages. Importantly, our analysis focuses on where and in which subject area shortages exist with the most consistency over time rather than the magnitude of need.

Existing solutions to address unique teacher shortage needs include offering financial incentives, reforming teacher licensure systems, diversifying teacher preparation pathways, and using retention strategies. However, these solutions are not being adopted at scale likely due to a lack of understanding of acute teacher shortage challenges. For the education sector to fully understand the specifics of teacher shortages, districts, states, and the federal government must develop better and more consistent data collection and reporting.