As summer is winding down and schools around the country are set to reopen in the next couple of weeks, school districts are facing a crisis.
They don't have enough teachers.
According to education reporter Hannah Natanson, some districts are short hundreds or even thousands of educators.
There's some rural districts in Texas that are actually switching to a four-day school week in an effort to compensate for lack of staff.
In Arizona, they're hiring college students to teach K through 12.
And Florida passed a law that would allow military veterans to teach in the state without certification.
They just have to have been in military service for some number of years and have maintained a 2.5 GPA over, I believe, 60 course credits.
If you talk to teachers, they'll tell you that these teacher shortages are not new.
About four years ago is when we started to, you know, see that there were teacher vacancies starting to happen.
And then COVID happened and exposed -- just exposed everything.
Hannah has been talking with teachers and administrators about why this country has run out of people who are willing to teach right now and what this will mean for kids.
So, what we're effectively seeing is that, at a moment where American students really need good schooling,
because they're still struggling to recover from pandemic-induced gaps in social and emotional and, you know, fundamentally academic learning that they would have gotten normally in a normal year,
we have the fewest teachers available that we've seen in a long while.
And the consequences for students are going to be that they're not going to catch up, and in some cases, they're going to slip further behind.
Today, what's behind the teacher shortage.
Plus, later in the show, what we can learn from the people who have still never gotten COVID.
So, why is this happening? Why are we seeing such an acute shortage of teachers?
So, it's hard to say because teacher resignations are intensely personal.
They're going to vary case to case.
But the people who watch this field, experts and analysts, say that it's a combination of things that are all sort of hitting in this kind of perfect storm.
There's this pandemic-induced teacher exhaustion where people have been forced to pivot their styles of teaching so many times and are just weary.
There's really low pay, which has been a chronic issue for decades.
And there's also this increasing sense that politicians and parents and sometimes people in their own school system don't respect teachers,
and that's because there's this ongoing educational culture war in which you've seen districts and states pass policies and laws that limit what teachers can say about U.S. history, race, racism, gender, sexual orientation, and sort of a broader range of LGBTQ issues.
And these laws have all popped up in the past two, two-ish years.
And so you've got teachers who just feel horribly disrespected.