School Districts Across the Country Cancel Classes in Face of Staffing Shortages

The New York Times reports on a phenomenon leading to Reynolds Middle School’s closure and the Portland Teachers Association’s demand for less in-person time.

Teachers march in North Portland to protest staffing shortages. (Chris Nesseth)

The New York Times this week reported that districts around the country are reverting to online instruction or canceling school days as they deal with staffing shortages or try to head off teacher resignations. Portland teachers are asking the district to do something similar.

Detroit’s school district as well as another Michigan district have opted for Fridays online, the Times reported in a story titled “Schools Are Closing Classrooms on Fridays. Parents Are Furious.” Other districts have canceled classes on short notice.

The Times chalked up the classroom cutbacks to several factors, but said one stood out: “a last-ditch effort to keep teachers from resigning.” The story says teacher burnout is both a result of friction with parents and likely to intensify that friction.

There’s reason to think that’s already happening in Oregon, where a Democratic candidate for governor has criticized Portland teachers.

The Times featured the decision to revert to online instruction at Fairview’s Reynolds Middle School for nearly three weeks after fights broke out as well as the Portland Teachers Association’s proposal to cancel in-class instruction one day a week at high schools and for a couple of hours a week in elementary and middle school grades.

WW interviewed PAT’s Elizabeth Thiel last week about her union’s proposal.

Related: The President of the Portland Teachers’ Union Defends a Controversial Proposal to Cut Classroom Days

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