It was not too long ago that Charles Prijatelj, head of the Altoona Area School District, received up to 150 applications for the opening of jobs for primary school teachers.
In recent years, however, the number of applicants for each of the 7,400 students in central Pennsylvania has dropped to three or four.
“There are not enough teachers. There is no large pool to draw on. Retirees are on the roof and people are leaving the job even more than they should have been due to the Covid disaster, ”Prijatelj told NBC News. "It's ridiculous."
Prijatelj's decline has seen his region as a mirror of national practice, according to data and analysis of this data. And as President Joe Biden includes free all kindergartens and community colleges as part of his coronavirus-damaged economy program, education experts see teachers as a link. The $ 9 billion bid Biden's American Families Plan will be set aside to address the country's biggest shortage - which has been exacerbated, although not caused by the epidemic - represents a significant White House investment to do good in many parts of his home agenda, experts say.
“When you think about it, what is education? It is instructive. You have to have a teacher who does the teaching. You can't do anything other than the teachers in the classroom, ”said Georgia Heyward, a research analyst at the Center for Reinventing Public Education, which is the center of education policy analysis at the University of Washington Bothell.
Not enough American student teachers
Teacher demand has surpassed the delivery of Grade K-12 to South African public schools by more than 100,000 by 2019 for the first time, according to the Learning Policy Institute, a Washington education policy think tank that has learned more about causes and effects of teacher shortages.
The number of retirees and outbreaks associated with epidemics and sector fatigue in the coming years far outweighs the declining number of students pursuing teaching preparation programs. Since 2010, the number of teachers demanded has more than quadrupled, according to the LPI study. More than 270,000 public school teachers have been forced to resign between 2016 and 2026, according to government data, and a recent poll by the country's leading teachers' union showed that almost one third of teachers said Covid-19 had made them eligible to retire or retire before. of time.
Charles Prijatelj, manager of Altoona Area School District
Charles Prijatelj, district superintendent of Altoona Area School, central Pennsylvania, had to rely on emergency certification measures to find teachers in classrooms only.
Enrollment and total enrollment in teacher training programs has dropped by almost one-third from 2010 to 2018, according to a 2019 report from the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit policy research organization. In 2018, that study showed, only 160,000 students were completing teacher training programs.
“We have to worry about all that. This is an important time to inform teachers and inform them of what the future looks like to support them, ”said Linda Darling-Hammond, who led Biden's education policy reform team and was regarded as her Department of Education leader. "This is a time for all of us, and for the provincial government, to stand up and support teachers, to teach again."
The reasons for the decline are many, but experts say the role played by student debt is one of the biggest.
“People who want to teach can’t get into too much debt, so reducing credit levels for people who want to be teachers is very important,” added Darling-Hammond, president of the California State Board of Education and founder of the LPI.
Biden's plan is focused on pipelines, in the end
Included in the American Families Plan's $ 9 billion program to address teacher shortages is funding for training, equipping and segregating national teachers. (The total price tag for Biden's plan is $ 1.8 trillion.)
The proposed funding seeks to increase the number of students studying and entering the field, to keep existing teachers out of the field and to allow existing teachers and professionals from other fields to have simpler and less expensive opportunities to obtain certification for certain highly sought-after courses.
About one-third of $ 9 billion would go towards building and expanding “Grow Your Own” programs, which aim, especially in densely populated areas of color, hiring, developing and retaining already existing teachers in the community, and as other teacher training programs.
The proposed funding includes $ 1.6 billion to help expand the pipeline for especially needed teachers, such as special education and bilingual teachers, and $ 2 billion for funding programs, such as formal teacher training programs for new teachers and colored teachers, aimed at helping retain existing teachers in the field. .
Continuing to address the shortage of colored teachers, Biden is offering another $ 400 million in funding programs for historically Black teacher colleges and universities, national colleges and universities and other under-performing institutions.
Only about 20 percent of teachers teach color, and color students make up more than half of the population of all K-12 schools, according to government data.
"Bursaries that they say will contribute to the pipeline of color teachers will be critical," said Eric Becoats, district superintendent of 5,000 students at the Penn Penn School District