This morning I had a Zoom meeting with a single Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) team member who was the only one available. Their other team’s lead person was in a classroom subbing because their district did not have any available subs to fill in, and the other members could not take the time out of their extremely busy schedules. In fact, their district is down not only in substitute teachers, but in classroom teachers and paras as well.
There seemed to be an expectation that as we resumed in person learning and were hoping for some sense of normalcy in schools this year, things might lighten up. That does not appear to be the case.
Job openings are available across the state in about every capacity involving education. Job postings are found for teachers, support staff, school nurses, administrators, counselors, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and the list go on.
Many of these vacancies are not necessarily because of an increase in overall staffing, but an increase in people leaving the educational system.
An article, “How Bad Are School Staffing Shortages? What We Learned by Asking Administrators” in Education Week of October 12, 2021, from administrators polled, “Fifteen percent said shortages are “very severe,” 25 percent said they’re “severe,” and another 37 percent classified staffing challenges as “moderate.” Just 5 percent of administrators said they are not experiencing any staffing shortages in their schools or districts this year. Another 18 percent said the shortages are “mild” or “very mild.””
The article has other interesting statistics that I will let the reader refer to.
As we all see in the daily news, this is not isolated to the field of education, it is a growing concern on a national level, in every form of employment, but that is another focus.
So, for whatever reasons, these staff shortages now exist, and they are numerous. This must have an impact to some degree on the student education. I am not sharing anything that is not obvious to anyone regardless of the circumstances, but it does involve us all.
On a personal note, this school year my five grandchildren, ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade, all have wonderful teachers and support staff. I know their school district is facing similar challenges, but the impact to my grandchildren is barely noticeable.
For all of you educators that continue in the field, in this Covid Era that is so challenging, your dedication and persistence are having an immensely positive impact on students. Thank you!