What's Going On In Education?

An Administrator's Perspective

From an outsider's perspective, one may wonder what is happening at their local school or in schools statewide and nationwide. I want to provide an administrator's perspective along with some information to our patrons that they might not be aware of. This is my viewpoint about education in general, not necessarily all items are specific to Skyline. I cannot speak for other administrators, but I believe this to be a common viewpoint and belief of most current school administrators. There are two main reasons for the change we are seeing in education and neither of them are terribly positive.

Problem #1 - Teacher Ed Program Enrollment

For 10-15 years there has been a significant decline in the number of people entering teacher education programs and the profession in general. At Skyline we have experienced a slow decline in the number of applicants for vacant teaching positions during that time. This subtle decrease was noticeable, but was not necessarily alarming. I suspect many schools experienced this same trend. It was not until the pandemic arrived that it became clear that the declining number of teaching prospects could impact us. We still didn't know to what extent the impact would be. However, what we are seeing now is that the lack of new teachers entering the profession during the past 15 years is having a profound impact on our schools and education.

Problem #2 - Burnout

The second issue contributing to what we are seeing in education is the number of educators leaving the profession. During the past 18 months retirements and/or the exit of educators from the profession has increased dramatically. This issue coupled with less teachers entering the profession has made it more difficult for schools to fill vacancies. Hiring non-certified teachers who are working toward a degree is becoming more common. There are more teaching vacancies across the state than we have ever seen. Schools have turned to recruiting by calling teachers who work for other schools. The demand for high quality people has grown to a significant level. Schools which pay more garner interest from teachers and understandably so. All schools want teachers to stay, but It is hard to fault anyone for accepting an opportunity to make more money.


Why are teachers leaving the profession? You will hear a variety of reasons why teachers are leaving, but first and foremost I believe many teachers were at their limit before the pandemic. More specifically, I feel teachers were performing at their maximum in regard to working hard to teach kids, handling stress and coping with pressure. The pandemic put educators squarely in the middle of several divisive issues which placed more stress and pressure upon them. (Teachers just want to teach!) Many have decided that this extra stress is too much and have stepped away. Our profession is just one of many who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Health care workers deserve as much credit as anyone. (Bless them!) Teaching is stressful enough at times, the additional pressure has put many teachers beyond their limit. As a result, many have left the profession.


Other reasons teachers are using when leaving the profession are:

Teacher Pay

Problems with Parents

Lack of Respect

Lack of Support

Burnout

Exhaustion

Pressure on Education from Divisive Issues

Big picture

What Can We Do As a School?

As a district, our focus is on supporting our teachers and staff as much as we possibly can. This has always been our focus and it is needed now more than ever. Our goal is to continue to pay our teachers and employees as best we can while avoiding a negative financial impact down the road. What we cannot provide in payment, we try to provide in positive working conditions. I believe our teachers and staff at Skyline are the best in the state, we are going to do everything in our power to support and keep our teachers. It is unusual for Skyline to lose very many teachers. A large year of turnover for Skyline is often what other schools experience on an annual basis. We are focused on finding the highest quality people we can to work with our kids. Our priorities and our values will not change.

What Can Our Parents and Patrons Do?

1. Support our teachers! Tell them you appreciate them! Compliment them! Speak positively about them in front of your child! Avoid making negative comments about school on social media.

2. If you have a concern with a teacher, make an appointment and visit with them. A strong majority of the time concerns from parents are resolved with conversations. Our teachers care about our kids and want was is best for them, please take time to come and visit with them.

3. Regardless of your political preference, pay close attention to where your elected officials place their educational support. Particularly at the state level, there has been a growing number of politicians who support public school funding going to private schools. It appears that the number of state representatives who support private schools is approaching 50%. Are representatives who support private school concerned about public schools right now? Good question. Make sure you support politicians who support public education! Lastly, I encourage you to contact your legislators and tell them that you support better pay for teachers!

Going Forward.....

These are unprecedented times for everyone, not just educators. There is some uncertainty as to where education will be in five years if legislative change does not happen. The education and well being of our kids is our number one priority and always will be. Supporting our staff will require an ongoing commitment and we appreciate you joining us in that effort! Our school and community is second to none. We are up to this challenge and will continue to do what's best for our kids. We greatly appreciate our community and remain strong in our commitment to put all of our effort into the education of our children.


Sincerely,

Randy Dougherty

Skyline Superintendent

locknowapp.com


Lastly, a short google search will reveal an excess of information in the areas I discussed. Here are a couple links from recent articles about what Springfield Schools are experiencing.

https://www.ky3.com/2022/04/21/springfield-schools-losing-more-than-100-teachers/


https://sgfcitizen.org/schools-children/springfield-schools-facing-exodus-of-teachers/