Archives for category: Teacher Shortage

Jacob Goodwin writes in The Progressive that the best solution to the teacher shortage is to strengthen teacher unions, assuring teachers of working conditions, job security, and benefits at a time when the teaching profession and public schools are under attack by rightwing nuts.

Goodwin writes:

In February, the National Education Association conducted a survey of its three million members and found that 90 percent of respondents felt that burnout was a “serious problem,” while more than half of members reported thinking about leaving the profession “earlier than planned.”

This immediate shortage of teachers is paired with long-term concerns, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that there will be an 8 percent increase in the number of high school teachers that are needed by 2030. But more immediately, the current teacher shortage is the product of an orchestrated attack on public spaces that, unfortunately, gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I teach social studies to six graders at a public school in New Hampshire, which in July 2021 joined the ranks of at least five other states that have restricted classroom conversations about race and gender. Despite what their proponents claim, these laws are clear political ploys designed with the express purpose of stopping honest conversations about history in schools by intimidating teachers….

Teachers need to come together to revitalize associations from the ground up and push back on attacks on our public schools. Local teachers can find power by volunteering to participate in union actions and strengthening relationships across district boundaries. Educators who rise to this challenge will be following the work of generations past who fought to establish labor rights.

After all, unions are an iteration of the long American tradition of citizens coming together for a common civic purpose. As an essential part of each community, union members must demand democratic reforms internally as well. Challenging existing union leadership leads to increased ferment and dialogue within the union. The best ideas often bubble to the surface in spaces that embrace purposeful debate.

Unions also help to institutionalize civic norms and practices. To be leaders in the broader community, unions must demand democratic reforms internally. The practice of openness serves as a buttress against organizational rigor mortis. Creating an internal culture of openness and support will help empower members of diverse backgrounds and experiences and act as a safeguard against cliques and narrowness. This can be reinforced through adopting term limits for officers and establishing leadership development programs that increase the capacity of the next generation of labor leaders and local stewards.

Please open the link and read the rest of this excellent article.

Nancy Flanagan is a retired educator who taugh in the schools of Michigan for many years. Her post was reprinted by the Network for Public Education.

She writes:

We need more teachers.

Good teachers. Well-trained and seasoned teachers. Teachers who are in it for the long haul.

Many of the articles floating around about the teacher shortage focus on data—What percentage of teachers really quit, when the data is impenetrably murky at best? And how does that compare with other professions?

In other words, how bad is it? Really?

These articles often miss the truth: Some districts will get through the teacher shortage OK. And most districts will suffer on a sliding scale of disruption and frustration, from calling on teachers to give up their prep time to putting unqualified bodies in classrooms for a whole year, sometimes even expecting the real teachers to keep an eye on the newbies.

The shortage will look different everyplace, but one point is universal: it’s not getting better.

Teachers are not just retiring and leaving for good. They’re part of the great occupational heave happening because of the COVID pandemic—people looking for better jobs, demanding more pay, in a tight labor market.

Public schools are now competing to hire smart and dedicated young people who want to be professionally paid and supported, especially in their early careers. When you’ve got student loans, higher starting pay is a big deal. And loan forgiveness if you teach for a specified number of years might make a huge difference.

Before anybody starts telling us how to make more teachers, as fast and cheaply as possible, to prevent “learning loss,” we should think about Peter Greene’s cynical but spot-on assessment of the underlying goals of folks pushing for a New Concept of who can teach:

Once you’ve filled classrooms with untrained non-professionals, you can cut pay like a hot knife through cheap margarine. It’s really a two-fer–you both erode the power of teachers unions and your Teacher Lite staff cost you less, boosting your profit margin for the education-flavored business that you started to grab some of those sweet, sweet tax dollars. And as an added bonus, filling up public schools with a Teacher Lite staff means you can keep taxes low (why hand over your hard-earned money just to educate Those Peoples’ children).

Several states (and Florida springs to mind here) almost seem to be competing for the best ways to reduce public school teacher quality, thus reducing public school quality in the process. In addition to offering full-time, teacher-of-record jobs to folks without college degrees, they’re trying to brainwash the ones they already have by offering them $700 to be, well, voluntarily indoctrinated about another New Concept around what the Founders really meant in the Constitution.

Attention MUST turn to an overhaul of how we recruit, train and sustain a teaching force.

All three are important—and have been so for decades. We’ve been talking about improving the teacher force, from selection of candidates to effective professional learning, for decades. As Ann Lutz Fernandez notes, in an outstanding piece at the Hechinger Report, there is a surfeit of bad ideas for re-building the teacher workforce, and not enough coherent, over-time plans to put well-prepared teachers into classrooms, and keep them there.

I have worked on a number of projects to assist beginning teachers using alternative routes into teaching. And while there are problems, there’s something to be said for teaching as a second (or fourth) career,with the right candidates and pre-conceptions, and the right professional learning.

That professional learning has to include a college degree, and field experience. Many high-profile charters advertise the percentage of students who are accepted into colleges. There’s been a longtime push to mandate challenging, college-prep courses at public high schools, and send larger numbers of students to post-secondary education.

Teachers need to be credentialed to demand respect from the education community, plain and simple, no matter what Ron DeSantis says. It’s past 50 years since bachelors degrees were the required norm for teachers in all states. Backing away from that is egregiously foolish—and almost certainly politically motivated.

If we were serious about making more *good* teachers, we’d need two core resources: money and time. Money to effect a significant nationwide boost in salaries, loan forgiveness programs, student teaching stipends, scholarships, plus the development of more alternate-entry and Masters in Teaching programs that include both coursework and an authentic, mentored student teaching experience.

This would also take time—but it absolutely could be done. Would-be teachers should have to invest some skin in the game—not because traditionally trained teachers had to jump through hoops, but because teaching involves commitment to an important mission. Done well, it’s professional work. We can argue about teacher preparation programs, but nobody should be going into a classroom, alone, without training and support. It’s bad for everyone—teachers, communities and especially kids.

What are we going to do in the meantime?

Alternative routes have sprung up all over the country, some unworthy, others better. All are stopgaps, but some of those teachers will continue to grow and excel in the classroom. And I agree with Michael Rice, MI State Superintendent of Schools:

“If the question is whether we have a teacher that is certified through (an alternative route) or have Mikey from the curb teaching a child — a person who has no experience whatsoever and is simply an adult substituting in a classroom for a long period of time because there isn’t a math teacher, there isn’t a social studies teacher, there isn’t a science teacher — the teacher that is developed through an alternative route program or expedited program is going to be preferable.”

It’s worth mentioning that this shortage has been visible, coming down the road, for years. The pandemic and that great occupational upheaval have merely brought it into focus.

It’s past time to get the teacher pipeline under control. This will take good policy.

David Berliner is one of the most accomplished education scholars in the nation. A list of his accomplishments would fill a couple of pages so I will say only that the Regius Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University.

Berliner shared his thoughts about the current efforts in red states to destroy the teaching profession:

My Incredibly Short Career as a Brain Surgeon and Some Thoughts About Teaching

When I was an undergraduate psychology major at UCLA I studied physiological psychology, particularly neuroanatomy. During my Masters’program at California State College at Los Angeles I landed a job as a research assistant at the UCLAbrain research center. There I did some fascinatingstudies of brain functioning. Well, more accurately, my job was to get some rats drunk and then test them. I gave the rats a little alcohol, then I had a little alcohol, then they got a bit more, and then I…. well, I am sure you get the picture. I continued to read my physiological psychology textbooks, and in addition have found the works of Oliver Sachs and A. S. Luria to be wonderful reading. In fact, it was Sachs’ engaging “The man who mistook his wife for a hat”that inspired me to write essays such as this.

I note also that I frequently buy and avidly read whatever popular science magazines come out featuring stories about the brain. I am up on CAT scans and fMRIs and the latest techniques for stroke victims, and much, much more. Just as important as all the technical knowledge I posses is the fact that I also have a flair for carving, a skill attested to by anyone who has had thanksgiving dinner with my family.

Naturally, with such interest, such knowledge, and such skills, I have always thought that I would make a great brain surgeon. My secret fantasy was to become the greatest brain cartographer in modern times, locator of Berliners’ spot, or the Berliner bundle. I secretly dreamed I could eventually locate and describe how memory works–a goal of every psychologist.

Then, out of the blue, the most wonderful opportunity arose. I discovered that there was a chance that I could get to be a brain surgeon after all. I might actually be able to practice my real vocational love. This wonderful and exciting change in my life, one that I had dreamed about for so long, was suddenly within my grasp because that day, my newspaper ran a feature story on the scarcity of surgeons at the hospitals serving the most needy members of our society. One of our largest State supported big-city hospitals complained that it was short neurosurgeons all week. Furthermore, on weekends, in the emergency rooms, they never had a specialist on whom to call.

My local newspaper, for many years, took a conservative, free market approach to the economy.So, over the years, it has often been in favor of deregulating just about everything, particularly teaching. On the day I was reading about the shortage in the emergency room my newspaper ran an editorial on socialism in the United States of America using the “inefficient public school system” as their model. They cited someone who believed that “government schools” were founded on Marxist-Leninist principles. America’s schools, the paper continued, were failures when measured against the rest of the world or against the results of private schooling. The newspapers’ solution was more free enterprise, including vouchers for children, having schools compete with each other, and the closing of the useless schools of education. They, and one of our many Arizona governors who ended up in prison, eventually argued that anyone with a bachelor’s degree could teach because teaching wasn’t all that complicated.

Our newspaper was then owned by the Pulliam family. That is the family that gave America the well-known intellectual Vice-president Dan Quayle. It was he who said, among other things, that his goal was to have as few government regulations as possible. Quayle’s views, the news from the hospital, and the editorial seemed to provide the perfect set of conditions for propelling me into the career I always wanted. I actually shivered with hope and excitement.

It was time for people with my kinds of skill to step in and serve where clear social needs had been identified. I thought, “let a thousand points of light shine!” I thought it was time to get government out of trying to do everything. What we needed was a resurgence of volunteerism to renew the spirit of America. I thought of John Kennedy and I asked not what my country could do for me but what I could do for my country. And so I went to the hospital that had reported the shortages and volunteered to take the neurosurgery rounds on weekends.

I told them I hold a doctors’ degree (well, actually, I really do have three doctorates, but I thought they would rebel if I asked them to call me Dr. Dr. Dr.). I informed them that I have a high level of knowledge about brain functioning and understood perfectly the technologies that existed to examine brains, and, with false modesty, I also told them that I really could carve quite well. While the hospital administrator was weighing my offer, I thought: “By golly, this is it, my big chance. I may be able to change careers over night and make my dear mother posthumously ecstatic, by becoming a “real” doctor.”

I sat there waiting, thinking that if computer programmers can become high school teachers of mathematics overnight; if oil company geologists can become earth science teachers overnight; if mothers of two with bachelor degrees in either home or international economics, choose to enter the classroom when their youngest goes off to school and can get a job immediately, without any training beyond their life skills; and if military personnel of all kinds can get jobs in schools, and even jobs to run schools,immediately after they serve our nation; then I, with my skills and interest in neuroanatomy, should prove to be a great catch for the field of medicine. I knew I had what it takes and now here I was getting ready to demonstrate my talents. It was so exciting!

Alas. My hopes were quickly dashed. The administrator of the hospital informed me that they had no openings at that moment, but that one of their other physicians, a psychiatrist, would like to see me. I left quickly. I could tell he did not believe that I had enough knowledge and skill for the job, and I think that I sensed correctly that I could never convince him otherwise. I was crushed.

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I don’t know why, but for some strange reason people think that medicine is hard and teaching is easy. But let’s look a little closer at that. A physician usually works with one patient at a time, while a teacher serves 25, 30 or in places like Los Angeles and other large cities, they may be serving 35 or more youngsters simultaneously. Many of these students don’t speak English well. Typically, anywhere from 5-15% will show emotional and/or cognitive disabilities. Most are poor, and many reside in single parent families. There is also another important difference in the motives of patients and students. Most patients seek out their physicians, choosing to be in their office. On the other hand, many students seek to be out-of-class, preferring the streets to classrooms thatcannot engage them, and in which they often are made to feel inadequate.

I always wonder how physicians would fare if 30 or so kids with the kinds of sociological characteristics I just described showed up for medical treatment all at once, and then left 50 minutes later, healed or not!And suppose that chaotic scene was immediately followed by thirty or more different kids, but with similar sociological backgrounds, also in need of personal attention. And they too stayed about 50 minutes, and then they also had to leave. Imagine waves of these patients hitting a physicians’ office five or six times a day!

In addition, teachers are usually away from other adults for long segments of the day, with no one helping them, which makes possession of a strong bladder one of the least recognized attributes of an effective teacher. Physicians, on the other hand, often have a nurse and secretary to do some of the work necessary to allow them to concentrate on the central elements of their one-on-one practice. Andthey actually have time to relieve their bladdersbetween patients, which helps improve their decision making skills!

That so many teachers and schools do so well under the circumstances I just described shows how undervalued the craft of teaching is, and how little respect there is for pedagogical knowledge. In fact, much of the knowledge needed for teaching and for successful medical treatment is clinical knowledge, or tacit knowledge, not easily described, and hard to teach to someone else. That’s why physicians have grand rounds and a lengthy apprenticeship. Their prolonged apprenticeship is what gets them started learning what it means to be a practicing physician—not a competent student of biology, chemistry, and pharmacology. Every clinician (psychologists, physicians, social workers, and teachers alike) knows that book learning can only teach a little slice of what it means to be a success in practice. The recognition of this fact is the quite sensible reason behind the requirement that teachers need to take teaching methods courses such as how to teach mathematics, how to teach phonics and comprehension skills, how science is learned, and so forth. Course work in mathematics, English literature, and science have no more to say about the teaching of mathematics, literature, and physics than books on organic chemistry prepare a physician for their medical practice. Lengthy residencies are needed in medicine to learn to be a physician and extensive student teaching is needed to become a competent teacher. Fields of complexity, with a strong element of art infusing their practice, and with much of their knowledge base tacit, require prolonged time for learning the minimum, and much longer for learning to be competent on a regular basis.

They won’t let me be a brain surgeon because I have none of the tacit knowledge needed to go along with my book knowledge, interest, desire to serve the public, and of course, my superb carving skills. I can accept that. But why the hell would anyone think it’s different in education?

Please—let’s keep untrained but good-hearted people out of classrooms until and unless they get some training in how to do that complex job well. Classroom teaching is hard work, noble work, and in some way, the life and death of our nation in a global economy depends on having competent people doing such work. The physician is literally, rather than figuratively dealing with life and death. This gets them higher status, respect, and remuneration then our teachers get, but it is no more complex work, no more arduous, no more important to our nation, and certainly no more noble!

Let’s be clear: Those who come into teaching from other fields have much to contribute. But not if we count their other experience as equivalent to studying about teaching methods, and not if their other experiences excuse them from anapprenticeship such as student teaching, which most regularly certified teachers have experienced. Regularly certified teachers usually take 12-16 weeks of supervised student teaching. Those coming in to teaching from non- traditional routes, say those whoenter teaching through the program called Teach for America (TFA), experience much less practice. The bright, young, highly motivated, recent college graduates who join TFA, ordinarily have 5 weeks of teaching experience with students who are not likely to be similar to those they actually end up teaching. Listen to Matt Brown one of those bright, committed TFA recruits:

“when I walked in that door to my trailer, I didn’t have a freakin’ clue. I had been a 1st grader teacher for five weeks [the training period] and …I had never taught more than two hours in a day. I didn’t know how to set up a classroom, manage racial tensions, work with co-workers who weren’t thrilled I was there, deal with parents, unit plan…really ANYTHING. I was eaten alive right from the start, and never really found my footing.

….The stresses of the constant failure of my work began to change me in ways I’m not so proud to admit. I started to find myself snapping at my students, punishing them to prove a point, or yelling more and more (in real life, I never yell…and seldom actually get angry). I used to get extremely stressed during certain parts of the day (say, when a troublemaking student would be in my room for an hour), but I gradually began to feel that way during the whole day…and then on my ride to school, and then even when I woke up on a weekday. Some days, I got to school two hours early, only to sit in the parking lot with the music on full blast, and my sunglasses on…so nobody would know I was crying. Other days, I threw up before going to school. Often, a particularly bad event at school could keep me upset for two days straight.1

My former student and colleague, Dr. BarbaraVeltri, provides much more documentation from other first year underprepared teachers, all backing up Matt’s story about the failure of so many TFA recruits in their initial year. That’s why Veltri titled her oft citedbook “Learning on other peoples’ kids.”2 These are the poor, of course, the throw away kids: the kind of kids one learns to teach with. These are the ones on whom lots of mistakes are made, before moving out of the profession or on to schools with easier to teach children. By the way, it’s really no different in medicine. Had I gotten my job as a brain surgeon I am sure that I would have been working on the poorest people, where my “mistakes” would not have mattered as much! Our society does identify “lesser” humans, mostly the poor, and therefore frequentlyracial minorities, where inexperienced physicians andteachers are allowed to develop their skills. Higher rates of mistakes are permitted to be made with poor people, so that lower rates of mistakes will occur when dealing with “people of more substance!”

Perhaps the recognition of their incompetence, and their impotence in dealing with the overwhelming problems of poverty, are what drive many, like Matt (above) to leave the profession before their two-year commitment is up. It is certainly likely that Matt didn’tknow, and his coaches didn’t either because they lacked experience and were not scholars in education, that teachers have been found to make about .7 decisions per minute during interactive teaching!X Another researcher estimated that teachers’ decisions numbered about 1,500 per day.XDecision fatigue, is among the many reasons teachers are tired after what some critics call a short work day, forgetting or ignoring the enormous amount of time needed for preparation, for grading papersand homework, and for filling out bureaucratic formsand attending school meetings.

In fact, it takes about 10 years for teachers to hit their maximum ability to produce the most learningfrom their students.X But about the time the TFA dilatant teachers start to get competent in their job, around their fourth year,

64% of the TFA recruits have left the profession, a much higher rate than among regularly certified teachers.

To be fair, however, the 36% of TFA recruits who stay longer in the field then they originally committed to, are most welcome additions to the profession. But as they gained in competency, they may have hurt a lot of poor children during their apprenticeship by fire!

Lets face it: People who want to practice medicine or education without sufficient training are ignorant, arrogant, or both. And those that would let them do so will only allow them to work with throw-away humans—the flotsam and jetsam found in many urban hospital emergency rooms, and the powerless poor in the impoverished schools of rural America, or in the the same urban neighborhoods as many of our “teaching” hospitals.

In education, we might think of legislators and accrediting bodies that allow untrained personnel to enter classrooms as traitors. Yes, a harshpronouncement, I know, but the term fits. Persons who betray their country, are correctly called traitors. The legislators, accrediting bodies, and chambers-of-commerce that endorse putting untrained or minimally trained teachers before poor children are hurting America, betraying the principles that Jefferson explicated 200 years ago. Jefferson, a slave-holder and not nearly as democratic as we might have wanted one of our founding fathers to be, did help to persuade his fellow founders of the nation that the poor have talent in equal degree as do the rich. Thus,the poor deserved the same education as the rich, in order to cultivate those talents, so they can be used in service of the nation. He believed that the best way to preserve an ever-fragile democracy was a system of free public schooling. Those who would allow unqualified teachers to enter the classrooms of the poor are traitors to Jeffersonian principles.

So for me, advocates of an “open market” in teacher certification are deliberately hurting America, and that, to me, is a traitorous act, especially since the research shows that teaching credentials do matter, and do actually lead to higher student achievement3. On top of that, most advocates for a free market in credentialing would never allow their own children to have an untrained novice, or an inadequately trained teacher, nor would they allow their children to attend schools that rely heavily on such teachers. The hypocrisy and traitorous actions of legislators, business leaders, and policy analysts whoadvocate allowing anyone to teach in a school that would have them as teachers, ensures that social class social membership will remain as it is—difficult to modify. Moreover, the children most likely to be assigned teachers who have little, or no training, are children of color. So, on top of all my other charges, we might want to raise the issue of racism with the advocates of little or no credentialing for teachers. Traitors? Preservationists of the class structure? Racists? Wow! This is tough language for describing some of America’s most noted politicians, business people, and columnists. But until they put their own children in classes whose teachers are inadequately trained, I think it is fair to charge them with deliberately harming our nation. I’ll apologize to these anti-teacher-credentialing group when they let me operate on their family either as a teacher to their children, or as a surgeon on their brain!

-End-

1. Retrieved July 22, 2010, from: ​http://relentlesspoa.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/why-i-quit-teach-for-america/

2. Veltri, B. (2010). Learning on other peoples kids. Charlotte, NC: Infromation Age Publishing.

3. Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2010).Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects. Journal of Human Resources 45 (3), 655-681. 

4. D-H.

5. *Researchers Hilda Borko and Richard Shavelson summarized studies that reported decisions perminute during interactive teaching.

6. *Researcher Philip Jackson (p. 149) said that elementary teachers have 200 to 300 exchanges with students every hour (between 1200-1500 a day), most of which are unplanned and unpredictable calling for teacher decisions, if not judgments.

 

Like many other states, Texas is facing a dramatic shortage of teachers. Teachers are fed up by low pay, poor working conditions, and the disrespect heaped on them by hare-brained politicians like Governor Gregg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. While the politicians blabber on about “parental rights,” by which they mean the right of parents to dictate curriculum and to censor books, none of them talk about the value of teachers and their importance.

Politicians tell teachers that they must not discuss gender or sexuality. They must not discuss the past or presence of racism, which is alive and well in Texas and everywhere else. Politicians prattle on about “critical race theory,” which they do not understand and cannot define. Bottom line, they don’t want teachers to talk about racism because it makes the politicians uncomfortable; it makes racists uncomfortable when you mention their bigotry.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

More Texas teachers are considering leaving the profession than at any point in the last 40 years, according to new polling from the Texas State Teachers Association.

The survey found that 70 percent of teachers were seriously considering quitting this year, a substantial jump from the 53 percent who said so in 2018, the last time the typically biennial survey was conducted. Teachers attributed their grim outlook to pandemic-related stress, political pressure from state lawmakers, less support from parents and stretched finances.

I don’t know where they got that “last 40 years” number, because there was never a time when so many teachers were ready to throw in the towel and walk away from their classrooms.

Texas can’t afford to pay teachers more? Nonsense. Texas, under Abbott’s non-leadership, doesn’t want to pay teachers more. Abbott sees more to be gained politically by demonizing teachers.

In the survey, which was completed by 688 Texas teachers, 94 percent said the pandemic increased their professional stress, and 82 percent said financial stress was exacerbated. Experts have pointed to better pay as a key way to recruit and retain teachers. Respondents taught for about 16 years on average, and their average salary was around $59,000. That’s about $7,000 below the national trend, according to the teachers association.

Besides salary, Texas teachers on average also receive some of the worst retirement benefits of those in any state, a separate study from June found. Teachers who have retired since 2004 have not received a cost-of-living adjustment, although the Legislature has passed some “13th check” bills that send extra annuity payments.

In addition to pay, 85 percent said they felt state lawmakers held a negative view of teachers, 65 percent said the public held a negative view and 70 percent said support from parents had decreased over the last several years.

Abbott and fellow Republicans in the Texas Legislature have recently enacted several high-profile education policies, over opposition from teachers groups and education experts.

Last year, the Legislature placed restrictions on social studies curriculum, prohibiting certain discussions about racism. Abbott banned school districts from instituting mask mandates last fall, as COVID-19 cases surged. And schools are now facing calls for censorship of books that include discussions about race, gender or sexual orientation.

“For political reasons, Gov. Abbott has been trying to drive a wedge between parents and teachers, and this has definitely hurt teachers and hurt their students as well. It threatens the future of public education in Texas,” wrote TSTA President Ovidia Molina.

“Many of these teachers will be missing from our classrooms this fall, and for others, it is only a matter of time.”

Abbott has defended the measures as a way to depoliticize education and restore power to families about what their children do and don’t learn. He is calling for “Parental Bill of Rights” legislation next year to give parents even more control, as conservatives criticize the public school system as too progressive.

“Many parents are growing increasingly powerless about what to do to regain that control. That must end,” Abbott has said. “No government program can replace the role that parents play in the education of their children.”

A spokeswoman for the governor, Renae Eze, emphasized his commitment to education funding and “support for our hardworking teachers.”

“In 2019, the Governor signed into law one of the biggest teacher pay raises in our state’s history—over $1 billion in annual investment—and established the Teacher Incentive Allotment, which puts teachers on a pathway to earning a six-figure salary while prioritizing high-need areas and rural schools,” Eze said.

The Teacher Incentive Allotment gives raises to high-performing teachers. It has been rolled out to about 10 percent of Texas’ roughly 1,200 school districts, but almost all of the funds for the statewide program go to Dallas ISD — receiving 10 times more than any other district. The program is opposed by teachers unions, which advocate instead for universal raises.

Here are a few thoughts for Governor Abbot.

You have done everything possible to politicize the classroom with your bans and censorship.

You have insulted teachers.

You have pitted parents against teachers.

You have put your money into a merit pay incentive program that has never worked anywhere in the nation. Ever.

Your gag orders, your insertion of politics into what teachers teach, your hostility to public education demonstrates your contempt for teachers.

Your devotion to vouchers shows that you prefer schools where teachers have no certification, no preparation at all to teach. If you get your way, employers will avoid Texas. You favor indoctrination over education. You oppose freedom of thought. Your students will finish high school poorly educated. Texas will go backwards.

Shame on you.

Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, has pushed policies that are driving teachers out of their profession. He knows exactly what he is doing. He favors charter schools and voucher schools, where teachers have no job security, no pensions.

Teachers are leaving public schools. They are quitting. DeSantis is getting what he wants.

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The Palm Beach County School District appears to be in desperate need of teachers as the new school year gets underway. The first day of school for students is August 10th. Several teachers tell BocaNewsNow.com that they — and their colleagues — are leaving their long-held positions due to what they call the politicization of teaching by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

“From ’Don’t Say Gay’ to other bizarre positions,” said one teacher who asked not be identified, ”teaching is no longer teaching. It’s politics. Politics should have no place in the classroom, unless it’s actually a class about politics.”

“We have elementary school students who have same-sex parents,” said another teacher at a Palm Beach County elementary school. ”Are we really not allowed to acknowledge that? If we get fired, we lose benefits. If we resign now, we get what we have. This is why so many teachers are leaving. The Governor got it wrong.”

While the school district has been transmitting email blasts — and taking to social media — to promote job fairs and open positions, a check of the actual ”help wanted” website reveals just how dire the situation appears to be. As of noon on July 31st, 2022, a search of the word ”teacher” on the official Palm Beach County School District employment website yielded 1,784 jobs. While we did not review each and every listing, a spot check of several listings suggests that the openings are real. They range from full-time gifted to part-time continuing education. They range from Eagles Landing Middle School in Boca Raton to schools in all parts of the county.

It’s not just teachers. Transportation Services is also in need of bus drivers. The need is so great that the school district is offering a $1000 signing bonus to new transportation department employees.

Kathryn Joyce is an investigative reporter for Salon. In this article, she shows how the Republican leaders of Arizona have decided to end the teacher shortage by reducing standards for teachers. They have decided that teaching is not a profession. Anyone, they think, can do it.

She writes:

Last week, just days after the Arizona legislature passed the most expansive school voucher law anywhere in the nation, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law another education measure decreeing that public school teachers are no longer required to have a college degree of any kind before being hired. Instead of requiring a masters degree — which has long been the norm in the profession — Arizona teachers will only have to be enrolled in college in order to begin teaching the state’s public school students.

The law, SB 1159, was pushed by conservatives on the grounds that Arizona has faced a severe teacher shortage for the last six years, which, by this winter, left 26% of teacher vacancies unfilled and nearly 2,000 classrooms without an official teacher of record. That shortage has led supporters of the bill, including business interests such as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, to claim that loosening teacher credential requirements will help fill those staffing gaps. Opponents of the bill, however, point to the fact that Arizona has the lowest teacher salaries in the country, even while boasting a budget surplus of more than $5 billion.

“Arizona’s teacher shortage is beyond crisis levels,” tweeted Democratic state Rep. Kelli Butler this March. “Instead of offering real solutions (like increasing pay & reducing class sizes) the House Education Committee passed a bill to reduce the requirements to teach.”

“With Arizona trying to get education monies to parents directly to pay for schooling — including homeschooling — you see more evidence that the state doesn’t care who teaches its kids,” said David Berliner, an education psychologist at Arizona State University and former president of the American Educational Research Association. “Charters and private schools for years have not needed certified folks running schools or teaching kids — as long as the voucher for the kids shows up.” Combined with its new law creating a universal voucher system, Berliner added, “Arizona may now be the most radical state in terms of education policy.”

Please open the link and read the article in full.

Arizona doesn’t care about its children.

Mercedes Schneider writes about Arizona’s new law, which seeks to fill its teacher shortage by eliminating almost all professional standards for teachers.

She writes:

In an effort to address teacher shortages in Arizona classrooms, the Arizona legislature passed a revised version of AZ SB 1159, which Arizona governor, Doug Ducey, signed into law on July 05, 2022.

This revision allows for Arizona school districts and charter schools to apply to the state to operate classroom-based, teacher-prep programs in which participants need only pass a background check and be enrolled in an accredited bachelors degree program before being allowed into the classroom– supervised, sort of maybe.

Just enrolled– meaning not even a single credit hour yet earned is acceptable, and in no particular field. Furthermore, the bill language is loose regarding who could be actually instructing the class, since the bill states that participants do not “regularly” instruct class unless a “full-time teacher, certificated teacher, instructional coach, or instructional mentor” is present.

What qualifies as “regularly”? Who knows? Is “regularly” different days of the week? Is “regularly” every day, with some mentor figure poking a head in the door on occasion to token-supervise, thereby CYA, so to speak, on countering “regularly” with a superificial, other-presence of sorts?

Those who teach with emergency certificates need only a high school diploma.

The best way to increase the supply of teachers is to raise salaries and reduce class sizes.

But doing the right thing costs money, and Arizona prefers to funnel money to charter operators and vouchers.

Arizona is doing its best to destroy public education while enriching charter entrepreneurs and the voucher industry.

The state is placing its bet on the assumption that anyone can teach.

Why don’t they try that for doctors? Drop the requirement of medical school and allow anyone to cut and sew. That would kill people. As for the future of their children? Doug Ducey and the legislature don’t care.

Mamie Krupczak Allegretti is a regular reader and commenter to the blog. She wrote the following comment, which is good advice from a veteran to new and experienced teachers.

Anytime a person is burned out, demoralized and ready to quit his/her job, something is wrong. It’s not just that something is wrong with the way the institution is run (which there are many), but there can also be something wrong with the way the person is approaching the job.

Many teachers have what I call “Mamma bird syndrome.” They spend they time driving themselves into the ground giving and giving until they are exhausted. People commend them for outstanding work but inside they are tired and resentful.

If you want to be a teacher, it doesn’t seem that the craziness of the institution is going to change anytime soon. So if you really want to teach, you have to find ways to protect yourself, conserve and pace your energy, and lead a balanced life.

There are 3 rules to live by:

1. let go,

2. learn to say “no,” and

3. prioritize what you value.

What I am really getting at here is learning to create boundaries for yourself. Let go of things and situations over which you have no control and are not in your job description. Sure, there are days when you may be able to do more, but monitor yourself and your energy. Learn the boundaries of your energy and then decide what you are willing to give.

Learn to say no to extra duties and requests. Prioritize what you value. If you value excellent lesson plans, put your energy into that. But know that if you try to do it all, something will give and it will most likely be your health – mental and/or physical.

Your school day ends at a certain time. Keep to that time. If you have to work at home, set a boundary of say 45 minutes. You need to remember that this is a job and you need to have a life outside of school.

It sounds hard-nosed to say that, but it is the truth. If they had their way, the school district would want you to work 24/7. So it’s up to you, the teacher, to set boundaries. Teacher duties have increased over time because teachers have accepted them.

But think about it. Would you ask your doctor or lawyer to do things that were outside his or her job? We now want teachers to be parents, friends, therapists, mentors, counselors, mental health experts, financial helpers, etc. to students.

So, I’m not saying that teachers should never go above and beyond at times but when fatigue, resentment and a desire to flee show up, something in yourself needs to change. I think these are the biggest lessons young teachers (and even old) have to learn.

Teachers are receiving apples, donuts, and lovely notes to thank them for their service. But that’s not enough. Many states are reporting severe shortages of teachers and support staff. This means larger class sizes and curtailed curricula. This means denial of a good education to millions of children.

The Economic Policy Institute lays out the problems and the solution in this post: Raise wages.

It begins:

A 2022 report reviews EPI research on teacher pay and presents the evidence showing that K–12 schools are facing a staffing crisis. The pandemic made clear that our economy cannot function if schools don’t have the staff they need to operate safely and effectively.

Policymakers need to invest in K–12 education now, the report’s authors emphasize. They can start by tapping into hundreds of billions of dollars of available federal COVID relief funds. Read the report.

Key takeaways

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, state and local public education employment fell by nearly 5% overall, with much larger declines in some states, according to establishment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Household survey data indicate that the number of employed public K–12 teachers fell by 6.8%, school bus drivers by 14.7%, school custodians by 6.0%, and teaching assistants by 2.6%.
  • COVID concerns are likely a factor in nonteacher staff shortages. Education support staff tend to be older—and thus more at risk of severe COVID—than the average U.S. worker. Less than a third (31.6%) of U.S. workers overall are age 50 or older, compared with 66.2% of bus drivers, 55.4% of custodians, and 50.4% of food service workers in the K–12 public education workforce.
  • Low pay is a long-standing issue for support staff. From 2014 to 2019, the median weekly wage (in 2020$) for food service workers in K–12 education was $331, while school bus drivers received $493 and teaching assistants $507. In contrast, the median U.S. worker earned $790 per week.
  • Inadequate pay is a long-standing issue for teachers. Past EPI research shows that public K–12 school teachers are paid 19.2% less than similar workers in other occupations.
  • Policymakers should tap into the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal COVID relief funds available now to raise pay for education staff, enact strong COVID protections, invest in teacher development programs, and experiment with ways to support part-time and part-year staff when school is not in session. They also need to plan for sustainable long-term investments in the K–12 public education workforce.

Teachers in New South Wales, Australia, plan to strike on May 4 to protest working conditions, especially understaffing and low salaries.

A letter to public school parents

Every day across NSW, children are missing out because of a lack of teachers.

It’s an unacceptable situation affecting public and private schools. Children can’t put their education on hold and wait for this to be fixed.

They have a right to be taught by a fully qualified teacher today and every day.

This is why teachers and principals have made the difficult decision to go on strike on Wednesday, May 4.

The teacher shortages are a growing problem caused by uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads. COVID isn’t the cause. It’s just making a bad situation worse.

In February this year, there were vacant permanent teaching positions in more than half the schools in NSW. More than 95 per cent of teachers and principals say their school has difficulty finding casual teachers.

The Department of Education’s own research shows large and growing shortages of teachers in many subject areas, forcing almost a quarter of secondary teachers to teach outside their area of expertise.

How do we fix the teacher shortages and ensure no child misses out?

If we truly want every child to get a high-quality education, we need a qualified teacher in every classroom.

Significantly, increasing teacher salaries and giving them more time to prepare lessons is an investment in our future that will pay off for our kids and our country.

While the work of teachers has become far more complex and challenging, their salaries have fallen far behind other professions. The NSW Government’s wage offer of a 2.04 per cent annual increase won’t even keep pace with rising costs, with inflation now running at 5.1 per cent.

Workloads are also excessive, with NSW teachers now working an average of 60 hours a week.

For more than 18 months, we have tried to reach agreement with the NSW Government on a reset of teacher salaries to better reflect the value of the work teachers do and make the profession more attractive to high— achieving young people.

We have also sought an increase of two hours in the preparation time teachers have each week. (The current two-hour entitlement for primary teachers has not changed since the 1980s. Preparation time for secondary teachers hasn’t changed since the 1950s.)

Unfortunately, the NSW Government is refusing to make this investment that will help retain our dedicated teachers and attract the ones we need to stop the shortages.

What will happen on Wednesday May 4?

You will need to make alternative plans for your child on this day because teachers will not be at the school.

We understand this is not ideal. But if we do not take action now, the teacher shortages will only grow and more children will miss out.

If you would like more information or to show your support for teachers, you can do so at

morethanthanks.com.au