By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
There is a national teacher shortage crisis and Oregon fares among the worst.
Even school superintendents are leaving. Roughly a third of all Oregon school superintendents are new.
A national study describes the problem we are facing. The American School District Panel reported, “Some school systems used a portion of their federal recovery funds to ease teacher labor market pressures by offering signing and retention bonuses, but these measures often didn’t work. Teachers continued to leave, school system leaders said, often in the middle of the year. “We spent a lot of money on retention bonuses and ‘please stay’ payments,” said one system leader. “You might as well burn that money because it didn’t bear out. People left anyway. People took their checks and walked.”
Despite Oregon passing the largest tax in Oregon history (CAT tax, 2019) to fund education and Oregon having the 13th highest paid teachers (NEA ranking), our state has a massive teacher shortage.
Here are some reasons why:
– Oregon schools have become unruly. Students in Portland’s Reynolds School were so uncontrolled that they basically shut down the school for a few days. Schools are being pressured to stop disciplining violent students out of equity concerns and it is causing increased violence. Also, the school bureaucracy protects teachers who abuse students by shipping them to different schools or just ignoring them. This can go for a decade as the teacher continues to abuse students to the point it blows up as a scandal.
– By forcing Oregon schools during Covid to be among the first to close and among the last states to re-open (sometimes a year behind), it created a disruption of enormous proportions that will take many years to fix.
– The teacher vaccine mandate (still in effect last Spring) pushed some of Oregon’s best teachers out of the system permanently.
– The constant student political walk-outs, organized by liberal adults, continue to disrupt learning for the entire school. (see our big walk-out protest list here)
– Oregon schools under government union control have become bureaucratic, loading teachers with red tape, while politicians load teachers more with added regulations and teaching mandates. Teachers have less freedom to teach core subjects and to teach it in a way they know best.
Conclusion. Money won’t solve our teacher/superintendent crisis. What will solve it is cutting red-tape, regulations and all distractions from the classrooms. Students need to feel safe going to school and this requires removing violent students and teachers who criminally abuse students from the classroom. The more public schools can follow the successful model of independent charter schools and private schools (which have greater autonomy/accountability) the more success there will be.