‘A shortage of respect’: Professional talks school staffing issues in the U.S.

JACKSON, Tenn. — School is back in session, but the U.S. is entering the new semester with around 300,000 staffing vacancies nationwide.

National Education Association President Becky Pringle spoke with us about the rise in shortages of teachers and support professionals.

The growing issue pre-dates COVID-19 but was only made worse by the pandemic, with a survey by the NEA showing that 55% of educators are considering leaving the field.

While low pay is frequently pointed to as a common cause of teacher burnout, Pringle says that’s not the only issue educators are subjected to.

“When I talk with educators across the country, what they tell me is that it is a shortage of respect,” Pringle said. “And when we unpack that, what they say, is it’s a shortage of respect for them as professionals, to make teaching and learning decisions for their students.”

Pringle says school districts should be taking advantage of the American Rescue Plan funding to help hire professionals, and investments in public schools are critical to ensure all students have access to the resources they need.

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