In this new Podcast format, your co-hosts LeiLani Cauthen and Chris McMurray open the phone lines to discuss leadership priorities in education’s post-pandemic world.
Two of the factors that are forcing prioritization in school districts right now are student attrition and the teacher shortage. According to LeiLani Cauthen, CEO of Learning Counsel Publishing and Research, “You've got places like the new superintendent in Los Angeles Unified School District giving advanced warning to all that will listen, ‘It's going to get worse.’ They've gone from like 730,000 students down to 420,000. New York city lost over 50,000 students. The attrition of students away from traditional education choices is just massive all across the country. And meanwhile, places like California launched an initiative to fund 630 community schools, and Alabama, just decided to open a number of charters. Florida is like a boom town for new, small schools. It's happening everywhere. If you step back and look at the national map, it's not just that you're losing students. It's that the market just fractured into a million little shards, like you broke a mirror and it's in little tiny pieces all over the floor. If you step away and look at it over the last three years, it's really a massive shift.”
Chris McMurray, Chief Academic Officer at the Learning Counsel added, “I think it's a great point to make, that it is much more complex now, because this is all tied to funding and people are leaving traditional public schooling options, looking for the alternatives and a different type of experience. And that's taking cash away from our traditional public schools. So, if we have a staffing issue now, just wait till those funds start to go elsewhere, and then what are we doing? We're closing schools. We're laying off staff. That's bananas.”
So let's talk about not having enough teachers,” said Cauthen. I've had more phone calls with districts indicating that they have this massive problem and can't rectify it. I think it was New Mexico that brought in the military. And Florida is now allowing any veteran to apply for credentialing. So, there's a lot of extraordinary solutions being offered as well as districts talking about importing teachers from India and other places because they literally can't get them.
“We are now in something in education that we haven't seen before. We're looking at a true structural shift. And I think that that's going to be the first priority we want to talk about. Okay, I see we’re on with Ellen Perconti, Superintendent, Goldendale School District 404 in Goldendale, WA. Please jump in, we’re talking about dealing with the biggest pressures…”
You don’t want to miss this great Open Mic show, as Chris McMurray, LeiLani Cauthen and call-in guests tackle the biggest pressures facing education today.