February 3 – While the employee shortage is hitting every profession hard, a number of people are worried about the effect it’s having on teaching in Pennsylvania.
Reports have shown fewer and fewer people signing up to study to be a teacher in this state.
With all that is on a teacher’s plate in this day and age, it’s not difficult to see why.
Luckily, PA Representative Jesse Topper has been named Chairman of the House Education Committee in Pennsylvania.
He said, “This has been the largest part of my legislative portfolio. We met with staff yesterday and I said, look, I’m looking for big idea. The status quo at every level does not work. It doesn’t work at higher education, at our institutions, it’s not working K-12. We have to start thinking big. I’m under no illusion that every idea that I put out there is somehow going to become law, but we need to start talking about them and every chance we get to make a difference, even from the minority, we need to do so. The overarching issue is transformational change. That’s what we know we need. We understand that. It was never more clear than during and coming out of COVID19 and what was going on in our schools.”
There are also a lot of curriculum issues currently in this state.
Topper said, “I believe it all goes back to our university level. The progress we were able to make with our state schools last year and the integration and trying to consolidate and make these programs more affordable, as well as making sure that kids are coming out with an actual education and not an indoctrination. We need to keep working towards that.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “Even more disturbingly we’ve seen just a doubling-down on some of I think the failed-type of policies and the indoctrination you’re talking about. They just introduced culturally relevant and sustaining education requirements for all teachers getting certified through Pennsylvania and through their professional development. That just seems to be more moving us away from education.”
Apparently in Chambersburg Area School District, an hour a week is spent on Social Emotional Learning.
Jansen continued, “Something that is not proven effective for K-12 education. We have some real work to do on looking into these programs more carefully because we want to get our teachers back to educating our kids.”
Topper pointed out, “It’s no wonder we hear about a teacher shortage and people not wanting to go into the profession or choosing to leave the profession early. No kidding. The last thing we need is to start putting more and more on their plate that was never intended for an educator to have to deal with. They are there to teach a subject matter. They’re there because they’re passionate about kids and we need to let them get back to doing what they can do and leave the parenting and the guardianship to the parents and the guardians and the grandparents. Trying to make progress, this is a business that you lose more than you win, but the other side was very good about keeping issues alive even when they were losing and talking about issues and moving issues forward even a little bit. Eventually there were a lot of victories for them, unfortunately. We have to do the same thing. We can’t give up. We can’t stop talking about the things that we’re passionate about, the issues that we know would bring change. If they’re not popular now, in ten years maybe they will be popular. So, we have to keep it up.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “School choice was something that we heard out of Josh Shapiro. That’d be nice to see something like that get to the finish line if he is indeed genuine about his passion for seeing your kiddos succeed in Pennsylvania.”