Teacher Shortage, More Subs

There’s a teacher shortage in America, according to the Washington Post.

The Washington Post interviewed a Pittsburgh student, who comments on how the teacher shortage effects her: “You’re looking at test scores,” she said of the school’s low performance on state standardized tests in math, science and reading. “But we didn’t have a stable teacher.”

The article delved into some noteworthy details on the severity of the shortage:

“Detroit needs 135 teachers — more than 5 percent of its teaching positions — and the city has just 90 subs, so principals or other school staffers must cover most of the remaining classes, according to a Detroit schools representative.”

This fall, she had a group of incoming freshmen who had not had a permanent math teacher in eighth grade. Eighty percent of them were not proficient in math, according to state tests, she said — because “they didn’t get instruction last year.”

All of this begs the question: Why?

The article gives an answer I hope Rheeformers can comprehend:


“They tend to employ teachers who are more inexperienced than the hires at affluent schools, and they often are not adequately trained for the intense environments they will face, making them more likely to leave, said Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor emerita at Stanford who heads the Learning Policy Institute, an education think tank. Inexperienced teachers also are often the first to be laid off in tough budget times, which means layoffs can disproportionately affect high-poverty schools.”

Teachers are leaving the profession because they are not equipped to deal with the realities of children living in poverty. The education system is not equipped for students living in poverty. Now teachers are leaving the system because they know it’s broken and the poor children are still poor. The education/equity gap widens. We need to face poverty in schools rather than ignore it.

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