Schools face teacher shortage

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:07 AM EDT
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(CNN) - Students are heading back to school – but not all teachers are.

Some U.S. schools can’t hire enough qualified teachers to fully staff their classrooms.

So many educators have left the profession, it’s causing shortages in some districts.

The education secretary said communities need to take action now.

“We’re at the doorstep of a crisis,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “If we don’t take it seriously, we’re going to be facing what we were experienced during the omicron spread.”

Some Florida schools are so desperate, the governor wants to recruit military veterans and others who don’t have education degrees.

“We also want to include first responders who have their bachelor’s degree to become teachers,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

And it’s not just teachers. Bus drivers can be hard to hire these days.

In a district near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one principal and athletic director are applying for commercial drivers licenses to help.

“We had to find creative ways to get our athletic teams to events,” said Jeff Behrens, athletic director for Pewaukee Schools.

So why are educators leaving the field? Some experts cite COVID-19, and the federal government has taken action to try to make schools safer.

“We are sending out tens of millions of tests to school districts and Congress … allocated tens of billions of dollars to schools for improving ventilation,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID response coordinator.

Others cite diminished control as lesson content becomes politicized.

Education is also a demanding field with comparatively low pay.

Last year, public school teachers made almost 24% less than other college graduates, the Economic Policy Institute said.

“Teachers have to get other jobs. They’re driving Uber on the weekends,” Cardona said.

Some educators said they also feel a lack of respect and appreciation.

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