‘Death by 1,000 cuts’: Kansas teachers demoralized by current environment

In a survey from the National Education Association, 55% of teachers indicated they were ready to leave the classroom.

By

State News

June 16, 2022 - 3:21 PM

With the speech and debate nationals right around the corner, Jeff Plinsky helps a student practice an argument on June 8. Plinsky, a teacher and coach at Lawrence High School, said despite the environment for teachers right now, his students bring a bright spot to his job. (Margaret Mellott/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Caught in a political crossfire and exhausted from the pandemic, Kansas teachers are putting down their books and leaving the profession.

In a survey from the National Education Association, 55% of teachers indicated they were ready to leave the classroom. As of April 12, there were 1,381 teacher vacancies in Kansas, according to the Kansas State Board of Education, and this number is expected to rise.

A teacher of 27 years, Jeff Plinsky, has seen the steady decline of those entering the field. While there have been a multitude of reasons for this, Plinsky said, it started when former Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration focused on an efficiency model to cut public school spending while increasing teacher workloads.

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