America is facing a nation-wide teacher shortage after years of treating the profession as a glorified baby sitting service. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio:             America’s facing a nationwide teacher shortage after years of treating the profession as a glorified babysitting operation. Yeah, it is mass exodus. It’s getting to where now the only thing that we have, the only thing people are, are doing and, and, and this is a huge problem. The folks that can afford it are putting their kids in private schools where they actually pay decent wages. And there are benefits to the teachers and they’re not babysitting because they can kick ’em out if they’re a problem. That’s not the case in public schools. So it’s the demise of public schools that we’re talking about here, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And I think a lot of people want to immediately attribute this nationwide teacher shortage to this, you know, attack on teachers we’ve seen from the last year. And sure that, that plays a role in it. But let’s understand something. This exodus of teachers did not just start within the last 12 months.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  This is something that has been steadily happening for over a decade now. And part of it has to do with the shift in how parents view the teachers themselves.

Mike Papantonio:             All right.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, 20 years ago, your kids coming home with bad grades, you get onto the kid, you take away whatever it is, you ground them until their grades come up. Now what happens is that those same parents go marching into that school, file a complaint against the teacher because they gave my kid an F.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  And this is not fair. This teacher is picking on my poor child.

Mike Papantonio:             And the parent spends no time at home, actually helping them on their, on their homework. Spends no time trying to hit, you know, trying to help that kid with ADD or whatever it may be he’s suffering from. But they’re dropped off. Your, your wife is a teacher, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             So they’re dropped off in these classes and they say, look, not only you’re a babysitter, you’re a psychologist, you’re a parent. You have to solve this kid’s problems and if you don’t, we’re gonna make it hard on you. Who wants a job like that? I mean, really, who in the hell wants a job like that?

Farron Cousins:                  And, and the pay is absolutely abysmal, especially here in the state of Florida. Our teachers are paid, I think $12,000 per year below the national average. A lot of states in the South actually pay well below the national average. And you’re talking about individuals who are working 50 to 60 hours per week.

Mike Papantonio:             Buying their own, buying their own supplies. I mean, that’s part of the story is where teachers are having to buy their own supplies. Arizona, good example. Arizona, they cut the, they cut the available money that was supposed to go to teachers and schools buy $100 million, $100 million. And they say to the teacher, ah, do the best you can, right?

Farron Cousins:                  I, I personally spend a couple hundred dollars every month sending supplies, not just to my wife’s classroom, but some of her other teachers there will, will email me, like I need a, a box of paper, which you can order online for $40, but they can’t afford it. So I, I’ll buy them a box of paper. I buy them printer cartridges for their printers because the school can’t afford to do it. And that’s what these teachers are going through. And again, as you said, I know this personally, I deal with this every single day.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And yeah, the attack on teachers right now is bad. But folks, there is a lot more happening than just, you know, oh, you teachers can’t do this or that. No, these people have been attacked for decades now and education is suffering because of it.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s come home to roost, hasn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             If you don’t have money to send your child to private school, good luck, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.