UPDATED 8:16 AM PT – Thursday, September 1, 2022
The Biden administration announces a slew of new funding to help schools fill their empty teaching positions. While speaking at the White House Wednesday, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said the White House will be investing over $100 million to fund teaching apprenticeships on top of their prior investment of $383 million.
Experts point to the COVID-19 lockdowns, teacher burnout and low-pay as the primary reasons behind the current staffing shortage. This is in spite of the existence of teacher’s unions who routinely bargained for higher wages and fought against any attempt to return to in-person learning during the pandemic.
“This administration has invested over $383 million in apprenticeships already in a very short period of time,” said Walsh. “Our next round of apprenticeship funding will be over $100 million. We’re going to prioritize education in the education sector as an opportunity for those funds to help address a national need and, quite honestly, a crisis and open up educational opportunities around the country.”
Additionally, they sent out a joint letter to state and local school districts, which laid out what steps should be taken to entice more people to get their teaching credentials. This includes using funds from the $1.9 trillion relief package Joe Biden released earlier this year to increase wages.
“This letter that we put out there, encouraging to take a series of actions to address the teacher shortage and school staff shortages in our country,” Walsh noted. “Now, this was not created by the pandemic. It was happening before the pandemic. The pandemic just shined a light on it.”
Pay teachers a livable and competitive wage.@SecCardona and I are encouraging governors and district leaders to use funds in the American Rescue Plan and the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds to increase teacher pay and reduce high turnover rates.
— Secretary Marty Walsh (@SecMartyWalsh) August 31, 2022
Present for the announcement was First Lady Jill Biden who vowed to continue supporting teachers by advocating for increased wages.
“There are so many other future educators out there who want to teach, but decide against it or decide to leave because so many obstacles stand in their way,” said Mrs. Biden. “And we’ve seen that this summer. And if we want to draw more, bright, talented people into the field. If we want educators to be able to do what they do best, we have to give them the pay and the support that they need.”
This comes as a new survey showed over 94 percent of political donations from teachers unions went to Democrat lawmakers.