What in the World is an Educator to Do?

Innovation
By: 
Charles Sosnik

These are unusual times, to say the least.

The two biggest storylines in the school world are the teacher shortage and the student shortage. It seems like they can’t both be true. But they are.

The bigger story, and the one that is causing administrators the most angst, is the teacher shortage. In an article a couple weeks ago by Learning Counsel CEO LeiLani Cauthen, she states. “28 percent of teachers have quit, been lost, or shuffled into different roles, mostly promotions into administration with added duties, while keeping many part-time duties in the classroom. That’s an estimated 638,000 teachers at a time when most schools and districts already didn’t have enough teachers and the worst drought of graduating new teachers coming into the workforce in history. Note that even pre-pandemic, K12 schools were losing up to 500,000 teachers a year, 15 percent of the workforce annually, due to burnout. Add to that, extra-large helpings of burnout during the pandemic plus the 10,000-per-day boomer retirements nationally, and K12 schools are seeing a mass loss like never before with little hope to recoup before the next school year.”

This situation isn’t going away. With fewer students in schools of education, more teachers retiring, and teachers leaving the profession earlier that they ever have before, that just doesn’t create an environment that will fill teacher vacancies.

I have seen some creative solutions, but nothing that looks like it has a chance of working long-term. For example, the governor of New Mexico suggested using the national guard to fill his state’s teaching positions. How many Guardsmen joined the Guard to fill a substitute teacher’s role? And how qualified are they to teach our children? The governor’s heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, his head is somewhere else.

And then there’s the student shortage. This is an ongoing situation. Before the pandemic, student attrition was hovering around 27 percent. That is, 27 percent of school-aged children were in some type of education other than traditional public education. That could be private school, online school, magnet or charter school; it could be homeschooling, or little Johnnie could simply have gone fishing. Whatever the case, he wasn’t sitting in a traditional classroom. Since the pandemic began, this number has really begun to accelerate – especially homeschooling. Estimates now are hovering around 40 percent of students that are involved in some type of alternative education – either public or private – and that number may get higher still. The result is a lot of change in the school world. Numerous school closings and redistribution of funds – and a lot less federal and state funds paid to schools who are experiencing this type of attrition.

Just imagine the teacher shortage if we were not experiencing all-time-high student attrition.

I think it is safe to say the education biz is experiencing changes that we were not expecting, and we need to act fast if we are to avert, as one education expert said to me recently, utter chaos.

The good news is, there is a solution. The better news is, the solution is within your reach. And the really wonderful news is, a phone call can place your school or district on the path towards that solution.

Does this solution cure the teacher shortage? No.

Does this solution cure the student attrition situation? No.

What this solution does, in essence, is match up your instructional resources with your students’ instructional needs. It’s called Hybrid Logistics, and it is the logistical disbursement of instructional resources with pinpoint accuracy when and as needed – with no waste.

Before Amazon, there was Barnes and Nobel. Before Uber, there were taxis. And before Hybrid Logistics, there was a teacher shortage that threatened the very nature of public education.

Between you and me, this is a lifeline for your school district. I want you to email my friend Chris McMurray, Chief Academic Officer at the Learning Counsel. His address is chris@learningcounsel.com.

Or if you’d rather, call my cell at 704-215-3723 and we can talk first. But eventually, you’ll want to speak with Chris and find the solution that works with your district. It’s not magic. But it is some very smart technology, and it is the pathway to the future for your learners, because these are unusual times to say the least. And your learners deserve the best available solution. And so do your teachers. And honestly, wouldn’t it be nice to have one less thing to worry about?

 

About the author

Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.

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