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    The economics of teacher recruitment after COVID-19.

    When the school year ended in 2020,  education leaders faced the inevitable reality of budget cuts as they planned for what was to come next. The depth of cuts varied by state, but experts reported that leaders should expect state revenue shortfalls to hit district budgets as they competed with other priorities like public health and higher education institutions for limited dollars.

    At the time, according to Education Week, America’s public schools would need $70 billion for the next three consecutive years in federal stimulus spending to avoid painful cuts such as teacher layoffs. Because of this and other COVID-19-related realities, administrators faced growing obstacles to teacher recruitment and retention. While this presented a challenge, it also opened up an opportunity to rethink the way schools source their most critical talent: classroom teachers.

    Several pandemic-related factors could compound what was already a real and growing teacher shortage.

    Teachers at higher-risk of COVID-19 complications retired early to avoid the health risks of returning to the classroom before a vaccine was available. Teacher absences rose as quarantine revealed the benefit of taking a day off to spend time with family or prioritize personal matters. Public health experts recommended smaller class sizes and emphasize the importance of preventive measures like temperature checks and more regular cleaning – all of which required more staff.

    At the same time, the effects of COVID-19 could produced an unexpected opportunity for talent: growth in the substitute teacher pool. Displaced workers could began looking for new, meaningful career opportunities. Full-time parents who enjoyed guiding their students through e-learning sought outlets to continue teaching.  As districts struggled to fill teaching jobs, employing substitute teachers also provided a pathway to making a full-time hire – allowing the school and the substitute an invaluable trial period while the necessary credentialing to become a full-time teacher tool place.

    Education workforce solutions companies, like Kelly Education, continued to provide domain expertise to districts with a pool of prepared and credentialed substitute teachers.

    Kelly Education offers substitute teachers the opportunity to work year-round, reward and recognition programs, and access to benefits. Partnering with a workforce solutions company to secure substitute teachers is cost neutral or better, because they can creatively and efficiently recruit and onboard substitutes, retain them, and manage their ongoing administrative needs. By wisely allocating reduced budgets, administration leaders can ensure continuity of instruction when full-time teachers can’t be in the classroom.

    Throughout the pandemic and its' aftershocks, Kelly Education stood with our districts, offering some certainty by lessening the burden of the teacher shortage and budget reductions. That way, leaders could focus efforts where they needed to be, on supporting full-time teachers and students in classrooms.

    View Related: K-12 School Districts

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