WV Teacher and Support Professional Shortage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –⁠ Two teacher’s aides face charges for not reporting child abuse of special needs students at an elementary school in Kanawha County earlier this week. WVEA President Dale Lee told WOWK 13 News that “there is no excuse for abuse in the classroom or for looking the other way instead of reporting that abuse.” He couldn’t speak about the incident in Kanawha County, but he said teaching isn’t the only profession with a few bad eggs. President Lee continues, “It happens. Those are things that make the headlines and we don’t talk about the thousands of educators that are doing the job right across the state.”

WVEA President Dale Lee

It is hard to get people to choose teaching as a profession. “It is a difficult job to maintain a classroom and reach every child. Secondly, it is the lack of respect and third is the lack of pay, when you can make more money in almost any other profession,” he said. President Lee projects 1,500 teacher vacancies for this school year and many other vacant spots as well. “There’s a huge number of classroom aides, bus drivers, cooks, custodians that are not filled,” he explained.

In his opinion, things like state legislature’s influence when it comes to what and how to teach as well as low pay is what impact people’s decisions about taking those jobs. “When I go to the Eastern Panhandle, I see billboards from Maryland that are advertising for West Virginia teachers to come over there where they get paid more. So it is a national problem. We have to face it, and we have to figure out ways to bring people into the profession. Part of that is pay and part of that is getting the respect back,” President Lee said.

Source: WOWK 13 News