DALLAS (NewsNation) — As another school year gradually comes to an end, the nationwide teacher shortage has forced some states to ramp up efforts to find ways to retain teachers for the next school year.
More teachers are breaking their contracts and quitting, and officials with state education boards don’t want to be left in a bind to hire teachers next school year, so some districts are fining, suspending and revoking teaching certificates of those who quit on what they’ve said is short notice.
In Texas, the number of requests to consider suspending or revoking teaching certificates for job abandonment is the highest the state has seen in the past few years. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Texas State Board for Educator Certification suspended more than 300 teaching certificates statewide for job abandonment.
Meanwhile, in Missouri, the number of teachers breaking contracts has increased, and teachers who quit are facing severe consequences. School districts are imposing financial penalties as high as $10,000 or seeking to suspend the teaching licenses of teachers who break their contracts, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
The number of teachers who have faced contract-related suspensions increased during the pandemic, reaching a record high of 11 in the past year, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
On Tuesday, three teachers will go before the State Board of Education to consider discipline affecting their license. In each case, the teachers were reported to the state board of education after breaking their contract early.
In one case, the teacher reported she was threatened by students, and that contributed to why she quit.
In two cases, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will recommend a one-year suspension, but no action for a teacher who quit her job in located in a St. Louis school district, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
It’s an issue that more teachers are facing. According to the American Psychological Association, one out of every three teachers reported at least one incident of verbal harassment or threatening behavior by a student. The data also shows 33% reported incidents of verbal harassment or threatening behavior, and 14% reported incidents of physical violence from a student.
Critics have said this will only make the problem worse.
“I don’t agree with it. I think they’re putting a Band-aid on something that’s hemorrhaging, and we know that never works,” said Dr. K, an education management consultant and former teacher. “It actually will backfire, because you won’t have people wanting to come into the profession. No one is going to sign up and say, oh, I want to go in and become a teacher and then have my license taken away.”
Some states are also trying to incentivize hiring teachers with apprenticeship programs, and have loosened requirements. For example, Texas doesn’t require teachers to get state certified. Meanwhile, states like Oklahoma no longer need a college degree for specific roles, and in Arizona, people can start a teaching job as long as they’re enrolled in college.