Driving school

COVID-19 protocols, policy leading principals to leave in large numbers

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It has been widely reported that there is a shortage of teachers these days. But there is a growing crisis of who will lead them. Principals are leaving the profession in droves with about 1,500 to 2,000 leaving this school year, according to consulting firm Ray & Associates, which works with school boards to find candidates.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19, mask mandates, virtual learning and more are contributing factors, but that’s not all.

“Superintendents spend a lot of time addressing sociopolitical concerns and not nearly the time they want to spend on student development and academic success,” Michael Collins, president of Ray & Associates, told Fox News.

Another factor is that once sleepy school board meetings have heated up in recent months, parents have grown increasingly frustrated with COVID issues and what is being taught in classrooms.

Pupils attend class on the first day of school for the 2021-2022 year at the Gounod Lavoisier primary school in Lille, northern France, September 2, 2021.
(AP Photo/Michel Pinler)

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With meetings streamed online, a superintendent candidate can see the challenges and tensions in a particular school district early in the interview process.

“They’ve always done their homework, but now they have the opportunity to see board members to see where they stand in the policy arena and how they interact with each other before they even submit an application,” said Molly Schwarzhoff, executive vice president of Ray & Associates. , noted.

“It’s just important that these councils realize that they’re being watched and they’re being interviewed. It’s a two-way street now. That’s kind of what COVID has done is they’re have opened up this two-way street for interviews.”

Debra Pace is the superintendent of schools in Osceola, Florida. She runs a school district of 70,000 students and describes it as a 24/7 job all year round.

Pace says she stayed in her job in part because Osceola is her home and her children were educated there in the school system.

“I especially feel a strong need to take us to the other side of the pandemic, to bring us back to a true sense of what is normal and, most importantly, to help children catch up on the learning that has been lost. lost and to help support our teachers and know that I’m here for them,” Pace told Fox News.

A child wearing a mask arrives at school during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York on January 5, 2022.

A child wearing a mask arrives at school during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York on January 5, 2022.
(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

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Pace says the superintendents leaning on each other has been a big help.

“Certainly, because we all face the same challenges with masks and no masks and face-to-face learning versus digital learning and the socio-emotional needs of our children now that they are all back. in the building,” Pace said. “And even our staff, we still see the stress of the pandemic on their shoulders. So this ‘phone a friend’ concept is really, really helpful in helping you with issues.”

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