With schools forced to close early due to staffing shortages and nearly 2,000 vacancies for certified educators across Connecticut, teachers are sounding the alarm for the state to provide funding and accountability measures to fix the staff shortage crisis facing our public schools.
“Proposed new ECS funding included in the state budget is not directed toward teachers in the classroom and is not earmarked to address the teacher shortage crisis or lost learning time for students,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “We must ensure that any new funding is directed toward measures that will address the burgeoning staff shortages and ensure students have qualified educators in their classrooms to help them succeed.”
Dias continued, “Billions of dollars in ESSER funds were sent to districts across the state with little oversight. Many districts didn’t put those funds toward the teacher shortage crisis or the classroom, where they could help students. We must ensure that new funding does not meet the same fate.”
CEA members have been sharing their stories and advocating for actions that create an environment that brings teachers into the profession and keeps them there. At news conferences, at meetings, and in emails to legislators, teachers have been vocal about the negative impact the crisis is having on their students and the teaching profession.
Teachers and students are on the front lines of this crisis, which has created larger class sizes, additional teaching duties, and a long and growing list of other demands on educators that are not sustainable. Educators have been calling for measures that will address the crisis and bring more people into the teaching profession, including
- Higher starting salaries
- Hero pay
- Uninterrupted prep time
- Tax credits
- Educator Bill of Rights
- Eliminating edTPA
“The only way to fix the teacher shortage is to listen to teachers,” Dias stressed. “Ours is a profession that requires advanced degrees, expert pedagogy, and a deep commitment to our children, but the current shortage has placed additional intense, unsustainable demands on teachers. We need to address the reasons teachers are fleeing the classroom, which are the same reasons college graduates are choosing not to teach. Careers that attract and retain professionals are those where people are valued, respected, and supported.”
Dias concluded, “With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, it’s up to the governor and legislators to act quickly and provide the necessary funding directed to recruit, retain, and respect educators and keep our schools open and students learning.”
She urged CEA members to reach out to Governor Lamont and let him know why it’s crucial that he support a state budget that provides landmark funding for teacher recruitment and retention.