Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says states and school districts should use federal COVID-19 relief funds to fix teacher shortages as some school districts resort to four-day weeks because of staffing problems.
“This is a year full of promise and opportunities for students who have, for the last two years, put up with too much,” Mr. Cardona said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the dollars are there to make sure that we can open up our schools with sufficient educators. Our students need more, not less.”
Mr. Cardona said the teacher shortage can be fixed by offering competitive salaries and better working conditions.
“Let’s face it: This teacher shortage is a symptom of something that’s been going on for longer than the pandemic, and that’s a teacher respect issue,” Mr. Cardona said.
KCUR Radio reported that nearly 120 districts in Missouri have switched to a four-day school week since 2010 as a way to entice teachers into the workforce.
States like California have also flirted with shorter weeks.
“When I hear reports of districts shortening up their week, it concerns me. Our students need additional support, they need smaller class sizes, they need tutors, they need after-school programs,” Mr. Cardona said. “So, let’s use the American Rescue Plan dollars to bring back retired teachers, to work with universities to make sure that our student teachers are starting a little bit earlier into their profession using the dollars that were put forward by the federal government.”
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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