Dry. Cardona slams lack of ‘respect’ for teachers who ‘bent over backwards’ during pandemic

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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona argued Sunday that the national teacher shortage is a symptom of a general lack of respect for public school teachers that began during the COVID-19 closures.

“Let’s face it, this teacher shortage is a symptom of something that’s been going on longer than the pandemic and it’s a teacher respect issue,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” News. “Unless we take competitive wages seriously for our educators, better working conditions so they can continue to grow.

“Is it really just about wages?” CBS News host Margaret Brennan asked Cardona.

“It’s definitely not just about salaries,” Cardona replied. “But looking back at the last two years, you know, our educators have bent over backwards. We’ve gone from totally in-person learning to remote learning overnight, but the pandemic has really pushed a lot of those educators out of of the profession because in many cases, you know, educators were not respected when schools had to close, and that created tension in our schools.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY UNDER WIRE TO HIRE HUNDREDS OF TEACHERS BEFORE START OF SCHOOL YEAR

Miguel Cardona speaks after then-President-elect Joe Biden announced his appointment as Education Secretary at The Queen Theater on December 23, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
(Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

“We need to make sure that we support our educators, providing them with working conditions where they feel connected to the community and feel supported in the work they do,” he added.

Protesters hold signs during the Occupy City Hall protest and car caravan organized by the Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois on August 3, 2020.

Protesters hold signs during the Occupy City Hall protest and car caravan organized by the Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois on August 3, 2020.
(Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

School districts across the country have been grappling with an exodus of teachers since the pandemic. A survey conducted earlier this year by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 44% of public schools report having vacancies for full-time or part-time teachers.

Middle school teacher Brittany Myers, center, protests outside the Hillsborough County School District office on July 16, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.

Middle school teacher Brittany Myers, center, protests outside the Hillsborough County School District office on July 16, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
(Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

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About 300,000 public school teachers and staff left the field between February 2020 and May 2022, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A National Education Association survey in February found that 55% of teachers said they were considering leaving the profession and 79% of teachers said they were dissatisfied with their careers, according to a July survey by the American Federation of Teachers. .

Emma Colton of Fox News contributed to this report.

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