Wisconsin may be running out of teachers to fill its school districts, and we desperately need to do something about it.
Apparently, school districts around the state have been experiencing an exodus of veteran teachers before they have reached their time of retirement, according to a new report from Public Policy Forum. To make things worse, the state’s teacher teacher training programs have seen a steep decline in enrollment numbers recently.
In all honesty, this isn’t all that surprising considering Gov. Scott Walker’s mutilation of the state benefits for public employees, including Wisconsin’s teachers, which had originally offered a pretty good reason to stay in the profession. While working for the state doesn’t necessarily bring in the big bucks, the previous benefits used to make up for it.
But on the other hand, to solve the lack teachers problem, the state should really focus on making education of teachers more affordable and therefore more appealing. It’d really just be an investment in producing a more educated generation of Wisconsin youth, and it’s not too outrageous to think that more education betters society.
Along with that, teaching in itself is a rather modestly paying career. These people are responsible for helping shape the future of our society while they’re only bringing home maybe $50,000 a year. The fact of the matter is someone who has passion to become a school teacher may decide to pursue a different career because becoming a teacher would not be enough to justify spending the hefty amount of cash it requires to earn a college degree.
The state of Wisconsin needs to make becoming a school teacher more appealing and reasonable so more people have less reasons not to pursue this career, which has such a large impact on future generations.
As cliché as it is, the teachers I had from year to year throughout my time enrolled in my small-town Wisconsin school district have helped shape me into the person I am today. In no way am I trying to say my parents didn’t play the major role. But the simple fact that I spent about eight hours a day in stretches of 180 day periods throughout the 13 years it took to complete kindergarten through senior year of high school makes it pretty hard to argue that my teachers didn’t have an influence on me growing up.
To think future students may not be given similar positive influences as they grow up because the state of Wisconsin is unable to produce enough aspiring and passionate teachers is rather troubling to say the least. The state needs to prioritize this production because an investment in education is an investment in the future of the state.
Phil Michaelson ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering.