"Last month, I returned to teaching in a classroom after two decades. As the superintendent of schools in Boston, I got a lot of media coverage for working as a fourth-grade substitute teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School on a day when more than 1,000 Boston school employees called in sick. Yet I was just one of hundreds of district staffers who pitched in to help.Like school districts and employers across industries, Boston Public Schools has faced intense staffing challenges for the better part of two years, challenges made worse by the pandemic.Now, as we enter the pandemic’s third year, America’s public schools are at risk of defaulting on their moral obligation to millions of children. Teachers, aides, principals, bus drivers, school lunch workers, custodians and other school staff are leaving in droves or are out of service due to illness. A dearth of substitutes and backup workers means day-to-day decisions about whether a school can remain open are the norm."
|National Guard Specialist Austin Alt fills in as a substitute teacher at Pojoaque Valley Middle School in Pojoaque, N.M., on Jan. 28. (Adria Malcolm/Reuters)|