Most readers have seen the viral videos posted online of students viciously assaulting their teachers, and while that is certainly an alarming trend, it’s not the only reason why members of the profession are “leaving in droves,” according to one educator.
Three teachers joined “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday for Teacher Appreciation Day to discuss some of the biggest problems occurring in classrooms today amid an ongoing — and worsening — teacher shortage.
“I think the biggest issue we’re having right now is there’s a national teacher shortage,” New York elementary school teacher Brook Ooten told co-host Ainsley Earhardt.
“Three-quarters of U.S. states now report that they are short on teachers. We have teachers leaving the profession in droves and I think that puts a lot of stress on the teachers that are in the classroom teaching. They’re not as well staffed, classes are overcrowded, and that’s a big stressor on teachers today,” she said.
As the 2024 elections approach, education has emerged as a top concern among voters, with Republican candidates placing a heavy emphasis on it. Polls indicate that parental rights, transgender policies, and politically charged school curriculums are among the key issues on voters’ minds, Fox News noted.
Daniel Buck, another show guest who is also a teacher, stated that the primary reason for teachers quitting is the shift away from classroom discipline.
“The number one reason that a lot of teachers are giving for it is the behavior in the classroom,” said Buck, who is also a visiting fellow at the Fordham Institute and author of “What Is Wrong With Our Schools?”
“There’s kind of a trend away from discipline, from standard punishments, consequences, and behavior is worsening across the country, and it’s affecting everything else in education, including teacher morale,” he added.
School board meetings have become heated and contentious since the pandemic, with parents and school board officials clashing over issues such as mask mandates and curriculum content, which has reignited the debate over how much control parents should have over their children’s education.
In addition, school districts across the country have been facing a shortage of teachers, struggling to fill hundreds of open positions in the weeks leading up to the 2022-2023 school year, the outlet reported.
School districts in the US have been grappling with a teacher shortage since the pandemic, with many teachers reporting burnout due to the uncertainty brought on by lockdowns.
A survey by the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that 44% of public schools had full- or part-time teacher vacancies. The survey, published in March 2022, also found that 61% of public schools reporting at least one vacancy attributed the situation to the pandemic.
The vacancies were mostly due to resignations, rather than retirements, the survey noted, according to Fox News.
Rhode Island high school teacher Ramona Bessinger, meanwhile, said she has concerns about teachers being forced to “adhere to political ideologies in the classroom.”
“Teachers are being forced to adhere to these political ideologies in the classroom and contrary to what their personal beliefs are and contrary to what is even right or true. For example, this anti-American content that we’re seeing, this anti-girl, anti-boy content that we’re seeing,” she said.
Bessinger added that teachers are being forced to make a “moral decision” and as such, many of them are just quitting.
“Sometimes they just elect to leave the profession or they’re pushed out, quite frankly, harassed and bullied,” she said.