MINNEAPOLIS -- Union educators around Minnesota are telling their stories amid a severe staffing shortage.
The union - Education Minnesota - published "Pandemic Reflections," which says that only 12% of educators surveyed are happy with their job.
They also said workloads are unmanageable, educators lack a voice in decision making, student mental health is at a crisis level, and education support professionals feel disrespected and exploited. Additionally, educators are reporting higher levels of physical and mental health concerns, they are exhausted by a lack of meaningful support, and lawmakers continue to fail special education students, the report says.
In a virtual news conference, educators passionately gave their perspective.
Mara Borges-Gatewood is an ELL Teacher in White Bear Lake. She says she loves her school but the reality is, being a teacher is tough.
"Most of the time we are overwhelmed while we are trying to cover classes where we are missing staff and keep up with our own classes at the same time – as a side effects, students are not receiving a proper education," she said.
Brooke Melek also spoke at the news conference. She is a school nurse from Morris, who said that "As school budgets get tighter and tighter and the stress multiplies, more and more school nurses are leaving for better paying jobs."
To beef up staffing - they are again calling for legislators and districts to pay up.
"I love my career but I can't continue living on the edge of financial ruin," said Rosemount school bus driver Cat Briggs.
Education Minnesota says aside from money, the solutions lie in recruiting teachers by helping pay for their education, mentoring programs with new teachers and veterans, and redesigning school models to provide a collaborative teaching plan for each student.
for more features.