Ask any parent or guardian who had to guide their child through online classes and virtual schoolwork, and they’ll tell you: teaching is a heroic profession.
As countless Kentucky households discovered at the outset of the pandemic, the single most important tool in making sure students are engaged, prepared, inspired and excited about learning every day is a high-quality teacher in the classroom. And our strongest asset in ensuring students can thrive at home and in life, is also our greatest challenge.
Today, Kentucky public schools are facing a teaching and staffing crisis. Across the Commonwealth, people are exiting the teaching profession or choosing to forgo a career in public education all together. A record 30,000 teachers are expected to leave the profession this year alone according to the Kentucky Department of Education. As the number of certified teachers and educational professionals drop, students are the ones paying the price, through larger classes, overworked staff and inconsistent lessons and programs.
To counter that trend and put Kids First in Kentucky, we must act now to recruit and retain highly skilled teachers and staff. At the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS), we pledge to work with families, community leaders and local lawmakers to see that happen, and are committed to championing deliberate steps – like providing incentives to enter the education profession, identifying the education career pathway as a high-demand work sector and encouraging young people to pursue education as a career – to help make sure our children are taught by the best and brightest.
There is simply no substitute for a dynamic, supported and highly skilled teacher in the classroom every day. Our kids deserve no less.