According to the Springfield Public Schools, the number of teachers quitting their jobs has reached a record level.
We heard of the district’s proposal to penalize teachers who violate their contracts last week. This prompted a deeper examination of the company’s personnel problems.
131 teachers have resigned or retired thus far this year. Since last year, roughly twice as many teachers have resigned.
“It was a respected profession. It’s just not that anymore,” Laura Mullins, a part-time teacher and president of the Springfield National Education Association, stated.
An overwhelming amount of stress is being felt by educators in the last few years.
“When you add something to the plate something’s got to come off. The plate is only so big,” Melissa Albright remarked.
In her telling, the pandemic was the last straw for her. Last year, she reneged on her contract and retired.
“I spent 31 years in the classroom. I had my fair share of parents upset with me, students upset with me, the district upset with me. There comes a breaking point,” explained Albright.
According to Mullins, the working conditions for teachers have deteriorated in recent years.
I don’t know that we’re going to feel like we are secure and stable and where we’re moving forward when there’s a lot push to undo things that we were able to not have to worry about. The things we could count on are now being questioned,” she lamented.
Albright said, “We have teachers who teach lessons and parents get upset with the content. They think that they’re trying to be indoctrinated. We have people who don’t like curriculum taught, books they don’t want their children to learn about. There are so many different things that these teachers are facing. Some of our public is not thoroughly educated correctly. They hear bits and pieces from the news they watch, from the other parents who are also spreading misinformation.”
Both instructors believe that the present political atmosphere is to blame for the assault on public education.
Finding the root of where things start, Mullins remarked, “I’m really in tune to Jefferson City.”
As Albright put it, “We have politicians who are making rules for our jobs who have never set foot in a classroom.”
“The Parents’ Bill Of Rights Act Of 2022” was signed into law Tuesday by the Missouri House of Representatives. School boards would have to, in essence, “recognize and confirm the protected right of parents to control the education of their minor child.’ Some other measures would push colleges to open their doors more broadly or risk funding limits and litigation. Language in the bill that relates to critical racial theory is also mentioned.
As Mullins put it, “The idea of what some of those bills are presenting is so concerning that that’s enough to make them say I’m out.”
To ease teachers’ fears, Springfield school leaders intend to use pandemic relief monies.
“It’s going to be more around a culture piece, ensuring that buildings have some additional supports that maybe they didn’t previously have. Hopefully that will bring a higher level of job satisfaction,” said Deputy Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools John Mulford.
Mullins expects that it will help boost employee morale.
When it comes to making decisions, the district needs to think about each decision they’re making and how that might roll out in the minds of their staff,” she added.
“It’s a scary time for teachers in general.” Albright remarked.