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Teacher Shortages, Learning Loss and More: Experts Available for Back to School Stories
Though most pandemic-related restrictions have eased, the impact of COVID-19 is still being felt in schools across the nation. As kids head back to the classroom, districts are struggling with staffing and trying to make up for learning loss caused by lockdown and quarantine disruptions. Syracuse University’s School of Education is home to numerous experts who can help provide context for your coverage.
- George Theoharis is a professor of educational leadership with extensive experience as a principal and teacher. He says the teacher staffing shortage is due to a confluence of factors including safety concerns, increasing workload, and political controversies surrounding curriculum control.
Prof. Theoharis says:
“The weight of the current reality is driving people toward exhaustion and unfulfillment. Nationally and locally we are seeing a steady decline in people going into teaching. With fewer people going into the profession we find ourselves in a moment where teachers are not recognized or rewarded for the professional knowledge, skills and abilities they have. This is both a morale and staffing crisis without an easy or fast solution. Some would argue we are here because a sector of politics wants public schools to fail. Policies and rhetoric from the past 40 years and today are pushing us in that direction.”
- Courtney Mauldin is a professor of educational leadership with a focus on amplifying the voices of youth of color and using their perspectives to transform school leadership. She says learning loss has been put in the spotlight by the pandemic, which magnified some already-existing issues. She says recent federal investment in summer enrichment is promising, but more needs to be done year-round to address multi-pronged issues that impact student learning.
Prof. Mauldin says:
“These issues must be addressed with not only intentional funding but also taking a critical look at the ecosystem of schools and rethinking what works well for students. This looks like truly supporting teachers beyond gift cards and “jeans” day. How do we value teachers as the experts and professionals they are? How might we better balance the ratio of school counselors to student body population? The residuals of the pandemic go beyond a few academic school years and students deserve to have continuous and adequate supports.”
You can read her full comments here.
- Christine Ashby is the Director of the Center on Disability and Inclusion, Beth Myers is the Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, and Beth Ferri coordinates the Doctoral program in Special Education. They all recently commented on the U.S. Education Department’s plan to update federal mandates for how schools and colleges must accommodate students with disabilities. Their full comments are available here.
You can find more of our education experts listed online.
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