A few weeks ago Peter Greene posted a blog about the fact that there is NO TEACHER SHORTAGE. He even mentioned me as one of the shortage deniers. I sent his post to a host of people—teachers, politicians, government agencies, and anybody else that needed a reminder. I then went on with my day delusionally convinced that I had done my part and that the reality of the teacher “X”odus would supplant the teacher shortage narrative. If only!
Instead of a mass awakening and a torrent of thank you emails I received one email from a friend in a government agency suggesting that I was possibly causing harm by insisting that the teacher shortage narrative was bunk.
According to my friend, I was “conflating the reason for the shortage with whether or not there is a shortage.” And that a state legislator was now using my teacher shortage denial syndrome as a way to disparage a proposed student loan forgiveness program for future teachers—since there was no teacher shortage.
I would love to believe that any legislator would actually cite me as a teacher shortage expert and that my denial syndrome was being used to thwart a great idea. Because if this was the case then it was a perfect opportunity to confirm the false shortage narrative and drive home the “X”odus facts such as the ones laid out in Brevard, Florida where 625 demoralized teachers have left the profession. According to teacher Kara Mathews, teachers…
are sick of … overcrowded classrooms, hulking workloads, unruly students, disrespectful parents and demanding administrators, these erstwhile educators — men and women, young and old — quit their jobs for other careers…. They paint a picture of a broken system, driven by test scores, where discipline is ignored and teachers are pitted against parents and politicians.
Why not hit the legislator over the head with the reality of the “X”odus so he doesn’t simply look at this as some ECON 101 labor issue? Drive home the fact that the system—punitive accountability—that this legislator and other politicians have imposed on teachers and public schools is killing the profession.
Show him the classrooms of special needs students being lead by “emergency” licensed (no license) teachers. Take the legislator to colleges and universities and visit teacher preparation classrooms with 5-7 students. Show him the data on the the amount of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs being prescribed to teachers. Make him admit that this isn’t a damn shortage but a carefully planned and executed war on teachers that is causing great harm to the children in our public schools.
Look I have no problem with using band-aids to help slow the bleeding. But let’s be real. This is not a “flesh wound.” This is a severed artery. In other words, this is NOT a shortage. This is an “X”odus!