Hudson Valley schools grapple with nationwide staff shortage

The Hudson Valley School District is working to address the shortage of school staff that is affecting the entire country.

Briarcliff Manor manager James Kaysian said the shortage was “a very real and persistent problem” that “will only get worse.”

Jolene DiBrango, executive vice president of the state teachers’ union, says it started before the pandemic. We predict that enrollment in the new teacher preparation program has decreased by 50% since 2009.

“That’s another reason we know we’re in some kind of crisis,” she says.

About 300,000 educators and staff have left the field in the past two years since the pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

DiBrango says there are several reasons for the mass exodus. This includes even more post-pandemic stress and responsibility.

“In short, teachers will stay in the profession and teachers will stay in the profession if we provide them with an environment that respects them,” she says.

This includes listening to teachers and giving them the tools they need to do their jobs well. Some state districts also offer incentives such as paying extra for staying for a certain period of time, but not all districts have such luxuries.

In the long term, teachers’ unions are working with state education departments to keep standards high and make certification easier, DiBrango said. She also says the program, which encourages students to become teachers and allows teachers in training to get paid and to train longer, has also been successful.

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