Portland

COVID creates dire shortage of teachers and school staff – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-09-23 08:09:35 –

San Francisco (AP) — One of California’s desperate school districts sends leaflets to students’ lunch boxes telling parents that they are “currently hiring”. Elsewhere, the principal fills in as a crossing guard, the teacher is offered a contract, and the school is back to online learning.

Now that schools have welcomed students back into the classroom, they are facing new challenges. It’s a shortage of teachers and staff that some districts have never seen.

Public schools have long suffered from a shortage of teachers, especially in the fields of mathematics, science, special education and language. However, the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the problem. Educational stress in the COVID-19 era caused a surge in retirement and resignation. Schools also need to hire staff such as tutors and special aides to make up for lost learning and hire more teachers to run online schools for those who are not ready to return home. is needed.

In Tennessee, New Jersey, and South Dakota, teacher shortages and vacancies have been reported to be difficult to fill, and one district began its school year with a vacancy of 120 teachers. Throughout Texas, major districts such as Houston and Waco reported hundreds of education vacancies earlier this year.

Some schools across the country had to close their classrooms due to a shortage of teachers.

The Eastpointe Community School in Michigan suddenly returned junior high school to distance education this week due to a shortage of teachers. The small district north of Detroit has 43 vacant seats. This is a quarter of the faculty. When some junior high school teachers resigned without notice last week, the district moved to online classes to avoid sending unqualified agents, spokeswoman Kate Linkinitz said.

“We need a teacher in front of our children, not just adults who can pass the background check,” says Kienitz. “This is clearly not ideal, but we can be sure that they are getting each subject area from a certified teacher to teach it.”

According to a June survey of 2,690 members of the National Education Association, 32% said they planned to quit their jobs sooner than expected due to a pandemic. According to another study by RAND Corp., the pandemic exacerbated teacher exhaustion, burnout, and stress. Teachers were almost twice as likely to experience frequent work-related stress and depression as other hired adults.

The shortage of teachers is “a truly national issue and definitely a state-wide issue,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the California Board of Education.

The school district in West Contra Costa County, California is considering hiring an out-of-state math educator to teach online, but agents are monitoring students directly.

“This is the most serious labor shortage we have ever experienced,” said Deputy Director Tony Wald. “This year, 50 (or 5 zeros) educators have opened, which means students will go to 50 classrooms without a full-time teacher.”

According to Wald, there are 100 more recruitments for key staff, such as unqualified but important educational assistants, to assist English learners and students with special needs.

Los Angeles Unified, California’s largest district, has 600,000 students and more than 500 teacher vacancies, five times more than the previous year, said spokeswoman Shannon Harbor.

Schools try to replenish alternatives, but they are also in short supply. Nikki Henry, a spokeswoman for the Central California area with 70,000 students and 12,000 staff, said that only about a quarter of the pool of 1,000 qualified agents will work at Fresno Unified. He said he was willing.

At Berkeley High School, due to the lack of agents, teachers are required to fill out during the preparation period, leading to fatigue and burnout that are usually not felt at the beginning of the school year.

“We are absolutely nervous. This was a very stressful start of the year,” said 9th grade teacher Hasmig Minassian. loss.

“I don’t think there are enough adults on these campuses to really keep children safe. I feel like we’re understaffed like never before,” she said. “Do you know an early video of a nurse crying in the car? I’m looking forward to your teacher.”

According to Board of Education Darling Hammond, California’s shortages range from disastrous to less serious where to plan ahead and win the competition, but they are a minority.

With a new twist, money is not the main issue. Thanks to billions of federal and state pandemic relief funds, the school district has the funds to hire additional staff. There are no people to apply.

“We are all competing for a shrinking pie,” said Assistant Superintendent of the Mojave Desert’s Unified School District, which has more than 200 openings for special education assistants, custodians, cafeteria workers, and more. One Mike Gelber said. “I don’t know if everyone is snatched or if they don’t want to teach in the COVID era, but the wells seem to be exhausted.”

In the district with 8,000 students, there are advertisements in newspapers, radio and social media. Teachers pack “currently hired” leaflets in their children’s lunch boxes with a long list of openings to help families disseminate information. In the meantime, everyone is participating.

“Principals and managers are more than security guards. Due to the lack of supervisors, secretaries are driving traffic,” Gerber said.

According to Darling Hammond, the shortage raises concerns that schools will hire unqualified teachers. This is especially true in low-income communities where it is already difficult to fill jobs.

The number of people in the class is also increasing.

With 28,000 students east of San Francisco, the Unified School District of Mount Diablo needed to fill several elementary school classrooms that could accommodate up to 32 students. It’s not ideal for social distance, but it frees teachers for online schools.

Approximately 150 children first enrolled in distance learning, but the highly contagious delta variant caused spike infections, which increased to 600 when school resumed. The same thing happened in Fresno, where distance registrations surged from 450 to 3,800.

Adam Clark said the Mount Diablo district has provided a $ 5,000 contract for linguistic pathologists and $ 1,500 for para-educators to help students with their learning needs.

The San Francisco Unified School District offers a similar start-up bonus for the work of 100 para-educators. The nearby West Contra Costa County Unified sets a $ 6,000 contract for teachers, one-third paid after the first month and the rest paid when teachers enter their third year.

Districts such as Oklahoma, North Carolina, and New Jersey offer a variety of cash incentives for new teachers, especially in low-income, poorly performing schools.

Of the 12 employees interviewed in the California area, only one said they were not facing a shortage.

Long Beach Unified, the state’s fourth-largest district with more than 70,000 students, predicted that it would need to employ about 400 people last spring.

“We’re completely aggressive,” said Assistant Superintendent David Zaid, including strengthening talent for a 24-hour turnaround of contract offers.

The virtual interview team worked during the summer. Hundreds of applicants gathered at the recruitment event, and when HR employees met the recruitment criteria, they were rewarded with breakfast caterers and ice cream trucks.

“We probably experienced the same shortages as others,” Zaid said. “But we are much more aggressive and as a result we are not in the same position.”

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