Staffing shortages are plaguing school districts. How did we get here?

Author: Christine Pitawanich

PORTLAND, Ore. — This year more than ever, school districts across Oregon, Washington and the rest of the country are struggling to fill positions. It’s a problem across the board, from teaching positions to office staff.

Frustration is spilling over. On Monday, teachers across the Portland Public School District demonstrated outside some school buildings before and after school trying to bring attention to how staffing issues are impacting students.

“When we don’t have staff in the building, when we don’t have staff to support us, like Friday, we had 15 teachers out, what happens is it is hard to manage all of the things that are happening with the kids and all of their needs,” said Ginger Huizar, a special education teacher at George Middle School.

The pandemic has played a role in the staffing shortage, but it’s not the only reason for the shortage and teacher burnout.

For those of us on the outside of the education world, seeing all the school districts that are offering hiring incentives may seem like the situation came out of the blue this school year.

But those working in education say the issue has been building for some time.

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