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Teacher shortage? Then allow teachers to discipline students again

It seems everywhere you look there’s news about teacher shortages.

“Teacher shortage leads to shorter weeks, unqualified educators” a USA Today headline reads. “New Jersey school staff shortage is making teacher vacancies worse” reads another.

My home state has one too: “Delaware teacher shortages: These experts can help.”

Additionally, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona offered his take on the matter, telling Education Week that “greater respect for teachers, mental health and social support for students, and partnerships between parents and educators” are what’s needed to take on the “complex” issues that schools face.

You should probably ignore him.

Why? Because he and his political ilk are responsible everything he cites. Students’ mental health? Who consistently fought for students — the least vulnerable-to-COVID demographic — to remain in face masks over the last two years (and still are fighting for it)? The Biden administration’s idea of parent-educator “partnerships” is parents being completely uninvolved … or completely in agreement with what the education establishment wants and believes.

Parents who dare to question teachers, administrators and school boards are designated “domestic terrorists.”

MORE: Biden’s DOE moves to install racial quotas in school discipline policies

As for respecting our teachers, progressives have done virtually everything in their power to diminish it. Eighty-eight percent(!!) of teachers involved with the American Federation of Teachers said in mid-June that “poor student discipline and a lack of support for dealing with disruptive students” is a “very serious” (70%) or “fairly serious” (18%) problem. And 75 percent said teaching conditions have “deteriorated” over the last half decade.

While “student attitude, apathy, discipline, behavioral issues [and] truancy” made up only 29 percent of that figure, another 58 percent (29% each respectively) said “workload, more responsibilities, unrealistic expectations” and “no support, recognition from the administration” … both of which are directly related to student discipline matters.

(Keep in mind that AFT membership is overwhelmingly aligned with the Democratic Party — 56%, compared to 23% GOP and 12% independent).

My home state of Delaware was in a unique situation at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Thirty years prior, the state offered state employees an early retirement package, and over half who took it were teachers. Consequently, as districts scrambled to get replacements, subject area teacher seniority lists had huge blocks of hires on August 28, 1991.

All of these hires who remained as of 2021 were eligible for their full pension. Although many of my former colleagues did not find COVID-mandated virtual instruction in 2020-21 all that bad, most who had 30 years in called it quits. Many tarried on, however, but not for long. The reason: zero consequences for student misbehavior.

The months of virtual learning merely exacerbated an already disintegrating discipline situation. Due mainly to “equity” measures, students now get away with virtually anything. Too many school leaders govern like those in charge of our largest metropolises, and we’ve see those results: Cities can’t staff police forces, and residents are exiting for locales that have sane policies.

Teachers — and parents — are merely following suit.

MORE: School districts screen for ‘racial biases,’ then wonder why teachers are quitting

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.