After years of underfunding education and cutting teacher protections, Kansas can’t find enough teachers to fill their classrooms.
Teachers in Kansas have some of the lowest average pay in the nation. In 2014, the legislature voted to undo job protections for teachers facing dismissal. This past February, a bill passed the state Senate that would make it easier to jail teachers for teaching materials deemed offensive or inappropriate. Yet in spite of all this, teacher openings have gone begging.
Kansas school superintendent Alan Cunningham is very concerned. “As of this week, we have over 450 teacher/non-teacher openings posted on our website. This is twice the number we normally have this time of year.”
“Yes, I know that the constant teacher bashing by our governor and legislature has made it difficult to recruit new hires; I know we are asking our teachers to do more with less, without an increase in pay, but Kansas is such a beautiful state to live in,” Cunningham went on to say.
The current crisis is being met in creative ways. Members of custodial staffs, as well as the lunchroom staffs, have been asked to fill in for the missing teachers. “Yes, it will mean that hallways will not be mopped as often nor will food choices be as abundant, but desperate times call for desperate measures.” said Cunningham.
Jack Armstrong, head custodian of Silver Lake Schools, is now teaching physics class. “As Sam Cooke used to say, ‘I don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology.’ You remember the song, right? Well I know a few things about the concepts of energy and force. The harder you press down on a mop, the cleaner the surface tends to get.”
It appears that after so many attempts to de-professionalize teaching, Kansas has a problem finding and retaining teachers. And in other news, if you jump into a lake, you get wet.