Tackling the teacher shortage | “It’s time to hit the reset button”


The US Secretary of Education has offered scholarships for those studying to become teachers and a loan remission for new graduates entering the teaching profession.

SAN DIEGO — Many schools here in San Diego as well as across the country are facing a severe teacher shortage as we emerge from the pandemic.

Today, the head of the US Department of Education visited San Diego, giving his perspective on how to recruit and retain more educators.

“It’s time to hit the reset button for a lot of things that went wrong,” said Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education, speaking Monday at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

Cardona participated in a fireside chat at the annual Education Improvement Summit, hosted by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education President Timothy Knowles.

In his comments, Cardona made it clear that schools and districts must learn from the challenges posed by the pandemic over the past two years as we move forward.

“The pandemic has shaken our foundation,” Cardona said. “He showed us the cracks.”

These cracks have in many cases led to teacher burnout and subsequent large-scale resignations: some took to social media to make the announcement, garnering millions of views in the process.

At the local level, some districts are doing what they can to address teacher shortages, taking advantage of an executive order signed by Governor Newsom earlier this year to speed up the process of obtaining a teacher’s license. 30-day emergency replacement, and also cutting the red tape for retired teachers to temporarily return to class.

“We have to change to improve,” Cardona added. “We cannot go back to March 2020.”

Cardona called on schools to use US bailout funds to address this nationwide shortage, stressing the need for more “teacher residency” programs, which would allow local schools to team up with colleges, offering aspiring educators who are still working on their degree an opportunity to work directly in the classroom as substitutes, tutors, and special education assistants, and get paid in the process.

“For too long, this notion of the student teacher without any salary has kept people away from the profession,” Cardona added, receiving enthusiastic applause.

Cardona also called for an increase in teachers’ salaries, as well as the establishment of scholarship programs for those studying to become teachers and loan forgiveness programs for new graduates entering the teaching profession.

The federal government also unveiled its budget for the next school year earlier Monday, including doubling funding for schools in very poor areas to $37 billion.

WATCH RELATED: Teachers give advice to parents to help them deal with learning loss (April 2021).


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