A shockingly high number of teachers have quit the profession over the last few years — as many as 300,000 nationally – and in the Democratic-run nation’s capital as well as a deeply blue suburb, the hemorrhaging has been brutal.
But it’s an effect schools are seeing all over the country, and the big question is “why.”
For an answer, leftists might want to try looking in a mirror.
Recently, The Washington Post found that schools in the D.C. metro area are losing teaching staff at a very high rate.
The Post noted that resignations of teachers spiked in the District of Columbia and nearby Fairfax County school districts. The report also noted that the resignation rate stayed relatively steady in other regional districts, including Virginia’s Loudon Country and Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s County.
While there are many reasons, two stand out, as far as the Post was concerned: The coronavirus and politics in the classroom seemed to be driving teachers to look for new careers.
The paper claimed that mental health issues have exploded for kids as a result of the draconian lockdowns many experienced in 2020 and 2021, and as these kids have returned to normal, in-person education, many teachers are having difficulty dealing with them. The report went on to say that 50 percent of schools are reporting higher disciplinary issues.
But politics also looms.
The Post added that “some teachers are also leaving because they are tired of the ongoing debates over how American schools should teach about race, racism, U.S. history, gender identity and sexual orientation. Parents across the country are pushing for greater involvement in their children’s education, including oversight of lesson plans and curriculums, and many regularly attend once-sleepy school board meetings to share their displeasure.”
“I think it’s a perfect storm,” Kimberly Adams, president of the Fairfax Education Association in northern Virginia, told the Post.
Adams was referring to the effects of the pandemic on education, student misbehavior and parental anger over the management of public education, the Post reported.
“Teachers are just feeling attacked by the public on every front. I don’t think we’ve heard enough from the people who support us.”
The Wall Street Journal’s workplace reporter, Kathryn Dill, recently added to this topic by reporting that 44 percent of the nation’s primary schools have experienced staff shortfalls, especially in teaching math, science, early childhood education and special education.
Dill added that more than half of those vacancies arose as a result of resignations.
The loss of teachers is so bad, Dill said, that many schools shortened or even canceled summer school classes because they simply don’t have enough teachers to run them.
Dill also noted that many teachers — such as Scott Henderson, a teacher from Utah — have quit the profession because classrooms became “mass chaos” after kids were returned to the classroom after a year (or even two in some parts of the country) off and attempting to learn from home thanks to overweening caution over the coronavirus.
So many teachers have quit the profession, Dill says, that some corporations have launched hiring campaigns directly aimed at former teachers, with ads and notes appealing to teachers on employment or help-wanted webpages.
“Some companies are flat out making landing pages that say, ‘Hey former teachers! This is a good fit,'” career coach Daphne Gomez told Dill. “These are highly qualified people with master’s degrees. You can train them on sales.”
As the Post article indicated, the teachers union spin is that liberal teachers are quitting because their teaching style is getting them in trouble with parents, while more conservative teachers are getting tired of the woke nonsense coming from the unions and the school boards. For many teachers, politics has filled their classrooms with land mines that they have gotten tired of stepping on over and over again.
Other teachers are almost certainly quitting because the politics in the classroom have become too much. With administrations, teachers’ unions and teachers themselves pushing extreme, left-wing ideologies instead of just teaching the basics, teachers on both sides of the aisle are getting fed up.
As Dill noted, the reasons are varied: “Grappling with remote learning and shifting Covid-19 safety protocols was hard enough, teachers say. But as schools have filled back up with students, more stressors have emerged: staffing shortfalls, contentious masking-policy debates, political battles over what teachers can and can’t discuss or teach in the classroom.”
Dill did not mention it, but another problem front-line teachers face is the huge amount of money school districts are wasting on hiring a growing army of administrators, even as teachers are often finding their own wages stagnating.
As the education journal Education Next noted this summer, school district administrative staffs increased nearly 75 percent from 2000 to 2017 and the number of principals and assistant principals increased 33.4 percent, but the number of teachers only increased 7.7 percent during that same time period.
According to the site, “Labor Department counts 271,020 K-12 ‘education administrators,’ with an average wage of more than $100,000 a year.”
Meanwhile, according to U.S. News and World Report, the median teacher’s salary is a less-impressive $62,870.
It is highly frustrating for teachers across the nation to see their needs go unmet as school districts continue to hand out $100,000-a-year jobs in administration like they are candy.
In essence, the left-wing style of public education is so bad now that even teachers are getting fed up enough to hang it up.
But maybe the public as a whole is finally starting to see it. Whereas, in decades past, most people just assumed that Democrats and liberals are best trusted in education, recent polls have found that the general public is starting to think that Republicans just might have better ideas for education.
Over the last few years, scattered polls have found that Republicans have started nullifying the heavy advantage Democrats used to own in education. Last November, for instance, the Washington Post noted that Republicans had nearly erased the wide gap Democrats used to enjoy on public trust in education. And only four months ago, even the New York Times warned Democrats that Republicans had gained on Democrats in the area of public trust on education.
Indeed, Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, won his seat in large part due to the massive failure that the Virginia Democrats have been for the Commonwealth’s schools, and he hit the ground running on the issue when he took office.
Things may be changing. But it isn’t happening fast enough to keep the hundreds of thousands of teachers from quitting in the meantime.
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