Staffing Shortages in Education
The professionals supporting our students in public school entities are highly-trained individuals from our drivers to our HVAC technicians to our classroom teachers – and everywhere in between. They are educated, committed members of our communities and have dedicated their life’s work to public education.
A Trend Toward Staffing Shortages in Pennsylvania Schools
Staffing shortages for support staff such as classroom aides, custodians, and drivers cause acute negative consequences to the student learning environment, particularly for students who receive special education services. Our public schools run best when fully staffed – anything less than that starts a chain reaction that is not optimal for learning. If you are a parent of a child receiving special education services, be sure to check in with their case manager to make sure that all services in their legally-binding Individualized Education Program (IEP) are being provided on a consistent daily basis for the amount of time stated in the document.
Twenty years ago, Pennsylvania was an exporter of certified teachers: there were more graduates with certifications than there were jobs available in our state. As the demands on educators and support professionals have increased over the past decade, there has been a steep decline in the number of Teaching Certificates in the State of Pennsylvania.
In the 2014-15 school year colleges and universities issued over 10,000 Instructional I certificates in PA. By the 2018-2019 school year that number declined to 6,630. Staffing shortages are evident in a wide rage of vacancies in our public schools from instructional aides to classroom teachers to substitute teachers.
What’s the Solution to Staffing Shortages in Schools?
In order to maintain the high-quality opportunities in our schools, all school employees must be paid a competitive living wage, offered quality benefits at reasonable costs, and provided working conditions that fully support the student learning environment. This involves teamwork at the local, state, and federal levels to retain and attract the best and brightest to our workforce.
The solution to this issue is not the lowering of standards to accommodate less-qualified candidates. Our public schools in Bucks and Montgomery Counties are amazing places to learn and grow because of the high standards that have been established via the state and local hiring practices.
Let your opinion be heard in Washington and Harrisburg by contacting your legislators.
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