The past two Saturday editions of the Chronicle have seen a shift to the conservative right in its Opinion pages. Last week we saw an article on why America was "not in peril" from the Daily Wire, a conservative think tank.
This week, we read a loaded article from the Freedom Foundation, an anti-union, conservative, free-market think tank. They see themselves as a "battle tank that's battering the entrenched power of left-wing government union bosses who represent a permanent lobby for bigger government, higher taxes, and radical social agenda."
So, it is understandable that the Freedom Foundation blames the teachers' unions for the loss of teachers, but let me suggest more realistic reasons for our teachers quitting, as told by the teachers themselves.
A big reason in Florida? Gov. Ron DeSantis has inserted himself into school classrooms with his anti-woke bans on books, critical race theory, sexual orientation, and gender identity discussion and instruction.
According to one teacher, “These new laws are… put into place by Florida politicians with zero classroom teaching experience, who seek to satisfy their voting base's culture wars." They have no value for students or teachers.
Other reasons why teachers quit:
They are poorly compensated. Research into why teachers quit says inadequate teachers' salaries are a primary reason teachers leave their profession.
Teachers are burned out. Teachers have to manage a classroom of sometimes disrespectful and overly demanding children. On top of that, they have to deal with endless paperwork, meetings, and other extracurricular activities.
Teacher autonomy is restricted in the classroom: If teachers don't have the power to make decisions about how they teach and handle their classrooms, it can be hard for them to feel empowered to be the best teacher they can be.
Teachers are asked to do more with less: With limited school budgets and resources, teachers often take money out of their pockets to pay for learning materials. This has been happening for years.
Teachers don't feel respected: Many teachers don't feel respected by their students, parents, and administration, and it seems to be worsening. This lack of respect by students and their parents comes out in serious discipline issues.
Their professional organizations (unions) don't seem to be a significant reason for leaving the teaching profession. In fact, unions are working to increase wages, lower class sizes, increase school department budgets, and support teachers.