The Biden administration is collaborating with employment agencies to assist address teacher shortages.

Ruby McKenzie
6 Min Read

In an effort to solve the teacher shortages that have plagued many of the nation’s school districts, the Biden administration will collaborate with a number of significant job search firms. These initiatives attempt to support a field that is increasingly coming under fire.

A White House letter made available exclusively to USA TODAY states that the businesses will create channels through which school districts may locate and hire potential instructors as well as opportunities for teachers searching for work.

A dedicated online employment board from ZipRecruiter is going live for K–12 educational institutions. Indeed will organize nationwide virtual job fairs for teachers and other personnel. Additionally, a virtual event for college students interested in the profession will be held in October by Handshake, a service that aids college students in finding employment, to share job openings with undergraduate students in the field of education.

“The shortage of talent in education is a national crisis that could hinder the next generation of Americans: our students,” said Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter, adding that it will require an “all-hands-on-deck” effort. “Our nation’s children depend on us, and we must all rise to the occasion.”

A White House conference on the teacher shortage was scheduled to be held on Wednesday to formally announce the collaborations. The first lady, Jill Biden, has been a community college professor for many years. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, other administration officials, governors, and executives from Recruiter, Handshake, and Indeed will all be present.

The Education and Labor departments will urge state and local governments to use cash from the American Rescue Plan, which congressional Democrats passed in 2021, to raise teacher compensation in a letter that will be sent out on Wednesday as part of other attempts to enhance teacher recruitment. The bailout law provided $130 billion for schools and an extra 350 billion in direct assistance for local and state governments.

The next round of apprenticeship awards from the Labor Department will include more than $100 million for the education sector, according to the Biden administration.

The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two biggest teachers unions in the nation, are partnering with states to strengthen the pipeline for teaching. This effort is being stepped up by the White House. Increased focus is being placed on programs that are well-liked by aspiring educators of color, such as apprenticeships, teaching residencies, and other unconventional career paths.

As examples of places that have increased teacher salaries and increased residency to fill teacher vacancies, AFT President Randi Weingarten cited Houston, Nashua, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.

“These strategies need to be the rule, not the exception,” she said, arguing that educators “simply need the tools, trust, conditions and compensation to do their jobs and stay in their jobs.”

Real-time quantification of teacher vacancies is not possible due to the lack of complete and trustworthy data. With the aid of COVID-19 relief funds, new roles have been created in some of the available positions; for instance, schools have greatly increased the number of social workers, counselors, and nurses on staff.

However, a recent examination of the literature by USA TODAY indicates that many of the openings are connected to shortages that existed before to the coronavirus epidemic and were concentrated in schools that served sizable populations of non-White pupils or kids from low-income families. Another study, however, discovered significant and ongoing shortages of non-teaching staff, including bus drivers and custodians.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Cardona said that the teacher shortage is a sign of a “teacher respect problem,” noting that teachers have only seen a $29 rise in pay over the past 25 years when inflation is taken into account.

“That’s unacceptable,” Cardona said, describing teachers forced to work as ride-share drivers on weekends. “We have to lift the profession.”

According to experts, a significant portion of the attention should be on reducing obstacles that frequently keep low-income and people of color from entering the field. The cost of enrolling full-time in a conventional teacher preparation program is one big barrier. Participants in unconventional professional paths, like residencies, occasionally have the opportunity to make money while getting ready to become teachers.

However, according to the same experts, keeping the teachers who are currently in the classroom should be given just as much priority. Since the start of the epidemic, fewer educators now think that the stress of their profession is worthwhile.

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