WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – As the school year kicks off, schools across the country are facing another severe teacher shortage. Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, says the pandemic made the teacher shortage worse.
“The educator shortage that continues, it’s not new it’s chronic,” Pringle said.
The shortage is leading some school districts to hire underqualified and uncertified teachers.
Pringle says the shortage is also creating larger class sizes, which makes helping students catch up from pandemic related learning loss even more difficult.
“It is challenging, and it’s overwhelming and it’s exhausting,” Pringle said.
She fears these challenges could drive even more teachers to leave unless things change.
“That our students have textbooks and technology, we saw the light shining on those inequities during the pandemic, didn’t we?” Pringle said.
Part of the solution, according to Pringle, is ensuring adequate, sustained, and equitable school funding “to attract and retain educators, not just teachers, our support staff.”
The National Education Association says another important change teachers want is a change in culture as teachers say they want to feel valued and respected by the community at large.
But at the Republican presidential debate this week, the candidates blamed teacher unions for the education crisis.
“The only way we change education in this country is to break the backs of the teacher’s unions,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said.
Chris Christie (R-NJ) added, “cause they’re putting themselves before our kids.”