As districts are struggling to recruit and retain staff, a recent survey by the National Education Association (NEA) finds more than half of educators plan to leave teaching sooner than originally planned.
NEA’s nationwide poll of members found 55 percent of educators are more likely to leave or retire from the profession sooner than planned due to the pandemic. This is almost double the number of those saying the same in July 2020, and the numbers are even higher amongst Black (62 percent) and Hispanic/Latino (59 percent) educators.
Responses indicate the top issues facing educators right now include:
- Pandemic-related stress (91 percent)
- Burnout (90 percent)
- Student absences due to COVID-19 (85 percent)
- Unfilled vacancies leading to more work for remaining staff (80 percent)
- Low pay (78 percent)
- Lack of respect from parents and the public (76 percent)
Addressing the issues
While the data can be discouraging, there are steps districts can take to address retention and staffing shortages. The NEA proposes solutions such as offering competitive pay and benefits, improving work conditions, removing barriers, and increasing financial support and sustainable education funding. More details on those suggestions are available in NEA’s article Solutions to the Educator Shortage Crisis.
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District must begin planning now to ensure classrooms are adequately staffed in the future. Assessing the new hire experience, school climate, and staff engagement through surveys and stay interviews may help identify issues that can be addressed to improve recruitment and retention.
Sarah James is the communications specialist at TASB HR Services. Send Sarah an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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