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How We Can Fix the Problem
Teaching is a thankless job.
Many students loathe their teachers when they’re in the classroom and rarely recognize the value added to their lives down the road.
The pandemic challenged many teachers in ways most of us never imagined.
To top it all off, parents politicized school boards and were content with vitriol they often reserved for their most despised relative.
Imagine working in an environment where students film every part of the day on mobile devices and any slight can lead to dismissal.
And don’t think that private schools have it any easier. They face the same issues as public schools in terms of staffing shortages, angry parents, and fear of reprisal.
The issues specific to the pandemic will eventually subside. But that still leaves us with a major shortage.
To address this problem, many states will need to cough up more money, whether for public school pay or private vouchers. Neither should be off the table and dismissed for partisan reasons.
At the same time, we need to find a way to allow teachers room to teach. Issues with what’s taught in the classroom, save for egregious instances, need to be addressed as adults in the proper forum.
Lambasting school boards with protests is a great way to vent anger and get nowhere.
Parents have a right to know and control what their children are taught. But they don’t have the right to push that to other students nor treat teachers with anything less than civility. Within that same framework, teachers need to be given an equal voice as any employee of any other business would.
Lastly, we need to provide teachers with more resources to handle specialty tasks including social workers, counselors, special education staff, and others.
The Great Teacher Shortage
We know employers struggle to fill critical positions. Yet, the problem is particularly acute in teaching.
By the Numbers
Burnt out by virtual learning and a lack of support, America’s teachers have started to give up.
The rate of people quitting in private education services rose 148% in 2021, more than any other industry. State local education quits hit 40% during the same period.
Staffing shortages are so acute some districts have reached out to 55-and-over communities, parents, retired teachers, and even superintendents to help fill the gap.
With Omicron raging across the country, many teachers who fall into higher-risk categories fear coming to work.
And the political machinations only exacerbate the tensions that exist whether it be discussions around critical race theory or Covid.
The issue isn’t specific to one state. Across the nation, nearly every state finds itself short in teachers for mathematics and special education.
This issue isn’t just specific to the U.S.
Germany forecasts it will be short 20,000 teachers by 2025, with the problem growing by 2030.
Where Are They Going?
Private companies are only too happy to lap up stressed out teaching staff.
Human resource departments, sales, even information technology departments have been hiring teachers at an accelerated rate, offering better work life balance and higher salaries.
The Bottom Line: A lack of teachers creates two problems.
First, teachers fill an important part of the modern worklife with parents using school as a form of child care. Without that, or with virtual classrooms, parents cannot leave for their workplace.
Second, it creates an education gap, especially along economic lines, that will only widen as the shortage grows.
This doesn’t lend itself to any stock recommendations or industry themes. It’s a problem we need to address if we’re to maintain our standard of living and progress.
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