Wall Street Journal reported on December 15 that the shortage of teachers has exacerbated the coronavirus crisis in American schools.
The full text is excerpted as follows:
As if the pandemic isn’t serious enough, many American schools are facing a growing shortage of teachers.
School districts are recruiting parents as substitute teachers.
The number of online classes has soared to 50 or more in one class, and school bus drivers are also responsible for taking care of the classroom.
Some are considering allowing asymptomatic teachers infected with COVID-19 to continue to school.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the public school employment rate fell 8.7% in November compared with February, the lowest level since 2000.
This includes teachers who have resigned, retired early or taken leave due to the pandemic, as well as teaching assistants, such as teaching assistants and administrators who have been laid off.
This human resources crisis makes teachers have to teach online and offline at the same time, clean their own classrooms, and take turns to escort their children across the road.
The result is that teachers are exhausted, parents are dissatisfied, and students have made little progress.
This shortage is not uniform across the United States, but concentrated in certain regions and areas. In 2018, more than 40 states reported shortages of teachers in mathematics, science and special education, but fewer states reported shortages for primary school, according to the latest federal data.
The shortage of teachers is particularly obvious in specific areas, such as cities with high cost of living and rural areas with low teachers’ salaries. No one is more obvious than Arizona.
According to the Arizona Association of School Personnel Managers, at the beginning of the new academic year in August, 78% of the 6,145 vacant positions were unable to hire qualified teachers in the traditional sense. The survey was based on feedback from 145 of the state’s 236 school districts; there are about 60,000 teacher jobs in the state.
Half of the vacant positions, or 3,080, are filled by emergency substitutes, foreign candidates and interns.
One-third of the vacancies are solved by combining classrooms, paying teachers to work overtime, or letting the principal replace them.
At least 460 teachers have resigned, retired or taken unpaid leave due to COVID-19, and another 200 have not arrived or left within weeks on the first day of school.
From August to October, there was a surge in retirees, up 24 percent from the previous year.