‘I’m concerned about our workforce:’ Survey shows Ky. teachers are reaching a breaking point
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We’re learning more about the scope of Kentucky’s educator shortage crisis, and why educators are leaving the profession.
Kentucky’s Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass published an op-ed about the challenges schools are facing and called for policy to support educators.
In Kentucky, the number of people completing teacher training dropped by 37% from 2008 to 2018, which is slightly worse than the national average.
There are factors to blame for this mass exodus, but also ways to reverse it.
“They are raising the alarm that they are not well,” Glass said.
The alarming stats from a recent survey show Kentucky’s teachers are near a breaking point exacerbated by the pandemic and a drop in interest.
“For years now we have seen a decline of people coming in. I’m concerned about our workforce,” Glass said.
Dr. Glass, one of Kentucky’s top educators, published an op-ed Thursday coinciding with findings from a survey of more than 38,000 teachers where three quarters said they are concerned with the emotional well-being of their colleagues, and 40% said they don’t feel effective at their job.
Glass said the hyperpartisan politics toward education is driving quality teachers away, calling on lawmakers to stop digging a hole that keeps getting deeper.
“Stop doing things that are contributing to the problem. Stop attacking the teaching profession. Stop trying to de-professionalize and defund the teaching profession,” Glass said.
Kentucky ranks 42nd in the nation in educator starter pay. Kentucky’s 2021 Teacher of the Year Donnie Piercey has been very vocal about how better wages could turn the tide for recruitment and retention.
“I’ve been a pretty outspoken advocate for increasing teacher pay. I feel like that’s something which can entice new people to the profession, but also just giving teachers the freedom to do what’s best for their students,” Piercey said.
Glass said it’s not too late to recognize the problem and take action.
“We have an opportunity with unprecedented budget surplus to shore up some of the challenges we have, but I do think it’s going to take years of us working our way out of this,” Glass said.
You can read the findings from the Impact Kentucky Working Conditions Survey by clicking here.
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