A startling new survey from the National Education Association shows that talented teachers are choosing to leave the profession – either resigning or retiring early – and a large part of the reason is due to the fact that teachers across the country are given little, if any, protection from COVID. Teachers are concerned about the spread of the disease through their schools, and they believe that no one is fighting to protect them or even giving them the materials to protect themselves. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins explains what’s happening.

Transcript:

*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

According to a new survey from the national education association, teachers across the country for the beginning of the 2020 school year and into the end of it here in 2021, teachers across the country are either resigning or retiring early. And a large part of that is due to the fact that school districts across the country have done a horrid job of protecting teachers and students against COVID-19. We have too many school districts in this country that have not been given any kind of PPE. They’re forced to have all their kids congregated in a classroom with no dividers between the children. I mean, hell if you walk into a gas station right now, they’ve got one of those plastic dividers. We can’t even get that in our school systems. The teachers aren’t given masks. At the beginning of the year, it was exceptionally difficult for them to find things like, you know, cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer.

Luckily those are coming in to more supply now. So, so they’ve got that, but of course they have to go spend their own money on that. So yeah, we’re losing lots of teachers in this country and it all comes down to the one fundamental that has been constant even before the pandemic and that is, we are underfunding public schools here in the United States at a danger level. We’re losing talented people, talented, intelligent teachers are leaving. I mean, some are looking at the current state of this and saying, I’m not even going to go into teaching. Why would I, why would I put myself through this hell to chase a job I love? I would rather park my butt behind a desk, sending emails all day long, but able to make a living and not have to put myself in danger via a pandemic or God forbid something worse. And it’s the students, the children, the kids that end up ultimately suffering the most from this and yet we do nothing. We sit here, we read these stories.

My wife is a, is an educator, an ESE educator and, and I, and I see it every day. And that’s why maybe this story stings a little bit more to me because I understand it completely, you know, it happens in our household everyday. My wife is putting in 11, 12 hours a day, five days a week, at least, working on the weekends as well. For what? Working outside of contracted hours, she doesn’t get paid for this, and that’s not about the money. She does it because she genuinely wants to help people. But at the same time, she comes home too many times upset and frustrated because the education system itself is failing because there’s not enough money to do what needs to be done. And now we’re losing even more. This cannot continue. If we do not take care of teachers who, by the way, in most States still aren’t even in the tier to get vaccines, we’re doing nothing to help that. We’re just leaving them at risk while we’re watching massive outbreaks happen in schools all over the country. This was predictable, but most importantly, this was preventable and this story is out in the public now. Let’s see if the Biden administration chooses to take action.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced