The Great Resignation is coming to schools
MORE TEACHERS – The crisis in American schools since the start of the pandemic is an education crisis, but it is also a labor shortage. A superintendent in Boston taught a fourth grade class this week due to staff issues. Some Ohio School Districts reduced the degree requirements for substitute teachers and increased their To pay. Schools are desperate for nurses. Bus drivers are so hard to find that the ministries of transport and education announced this week that states can waive part of the commercial driver’s license requirement to address the shortage. Michigan Schools need more cafeteria workers.
This is the last facet of the Great Resignation. Workers in low-wage industries like hospitality and high-stress industries like healthcare have moved on to other jobs. Many education jobs fall into both categories on the salary and stress scales.
But in education, at least, these challenges precede the pandemic, said Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union, in an interview with Nightly. Low salaries and resources for teachers – and low wages and limited career paths for other school workers – led them to stop en masse, she said.
Pringle’s NEA has been tracking the teacher shortage for years. A 2016 survey showed that only 4.2% of freshmen planned to major in education, the lowest point in 45 years.
And that was before the Covid. Layer in pandemic exhaustion, fear of the virus, mental health issues and new teaching models like distance and hybrid learning, and many educators have decided to leave the field, Pringle said.
Despite this, there was a sense of optimism in schools and among teachers this fall, Jane McAlevy, a senior policy researcher at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center, told Nightly. Among the school districts she works with as a union organizer, mainly large urban districts, many teachers were hoping for a better school year, with vaccines and funding from the Biden administration aimed at improving Covid safety in the communities. schools.
But when employees showed up in August, especially in poorer neighborhoods across the country, their buildings lacked essential pandemic tools such as extensive testing programs, HEPA filters, working windows to help. to functional ventilation and water faucets, McAlevey said.
“I remember having a phone call with the leader of the San Francisco Teachers Union… and they had the highest resignations in history of resignations recorded in the second week of school,” McAlevey said, adding that these resignations reflect what is happening in health care. , another mission-oriented field dominated by women.
The network of substitute teachers that schools have relied on for years has also frayed, another problem that precedes Covid. Amanda von Moos, executive director of Substantial Classrooms, an advocacy group for substitute teachers, said the system has not changed in 100 years.
“This is the original concert economy model,” said von Moos, “characterized by great autonomy and flexibility in deciding when and where to work, little or no training or support, a high degree professional isolation and no guarantee of income or professional growth Its main strength has been to keep costs down.
Teacher unions across the country have called for a more cautious approach to getting children back into classrooms, drawing criticism from parents and experts on both right and left.
McAlevy countered that educators agree that face-to-face learning is a better role model. But, she noted, epidemiologists have criticized a vaccine-only approach to reopening society, and that extends to schools, where more testing and mitigation is needed, in her opinion.
Teaching is hard work. And as classrooms across the country are learning, it’s not true that someone has to.
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Stoltenberg’s remarks, following a videoconference by NATO foreign ministers, sent a specific warning to the Kremlin ahead of a week of diplomatic talks – in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna – which were sparked by a major Russian military mobilization on the Ukrainian border, and by threats from President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials of an invasion if the United States and NATO allies do not comply with a long list of demands for security.
“NATO will engage in a substantive and good faith dialogue with Russia,” Stoltenberg said in his opening speech at a press conference. “But we also need to be prepared for the possibility that diplomacy will fail.”
Stoltenberg, the alliance’s top civilian leader, was enigmatic when asked for details, but insisted NATO would be ready to face any threat.
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