A teacher's shortage make schools no longer require college degrees
The pandemic increased staffing crises in many schools.
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According to The Washington Post, as certain states are desperate to fill teaching jobs, they have become less strict with requirements. It isn’t unusual to see teachers with only a high school diploma — especially in states like Oklahoma and Arizona, which have been struggling with this problem since before the 2020 pandemic. Low salaries and cuts to school spending were appointed as some of the reasons why people are losing interest in the teaching profession.
Many states have loosened the job criteria throughout the years to try to solve the shortage, but critics are alert to the consequences these actions may bring. A research study from the Economic Policy Institute shows that high-poverty schools have less-experienced and less-qualified teachers than wealthier ones, meaning that teacher shortages are more acute in high-poverty schools. Much more than just a teaching crisis, this situation is also a racial and ethnic matter.
In 2019, only 15 states required that candidates pass a basic skills test — in math, reading and writing — according to a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. Many states allow people to work on short-term licenses while they are still in teacher preparation programs. In the pandemic, more states loosened requirements, some just temporarily.
The Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is among the left-wing politicians addressing the issue by introducing programs to put community college graduates and military veterans in classrooms with mentor teachers.
“The teachers that become great teachers don’t become great teachers because they’re sitting in some university lecture hall listening to some professor bloviate,” he said.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said what needs to be done is improve working conditions for teachers, which will attract and retain more people in this career. Safety, respect, infrastructure and fair compensation are some of the group’s demands.
If you want to read more about the situation in Florida, Oklahoma and Arizona, click here.