Dr. Douglas C. Arnold, Executive Director, National Association of Pupil Services Administrators
US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a “Dear Colleagues” letter addressing labor shortages in K-12 education. According to letter, “The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) is committed to supporting districts and schools across this country in addressing teacher and staff shortages, minimizing disruption to in-person learning, and meeting student needs. That is why we are urging you to use resources from the $122 billion made available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) (Pub. L. 117-2) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund and a portion of the $350 billion made available through the ARP’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to ensure that students have access to the teachers and other critical staff they need to support their success during this critical period. This includes moving quickly to implement short-term strategies while also considering longer-term investments.”
According to the letter, ARP provides vital resources to hire additional educators and school staff and to improve compensation to recruit and retain educators and school staff. School districts should act with urgency to keep schools open for in-person learning and ensure they do not waste this opportunity to make critical investments. The letter also describes (1) evidence-based and promising short- and long-term strategies for addressing teacher and staff shortages that can be funded through ARP ESSER and (2) examples of how ARP and previous relief funds are already being used to attract and retain teachers and staff. These strategies can help to fill currently open positions and add and fill new roles, such as providing one-time initial hiring incentives, or short-term investments in additional staff to support students and educators and increased needs.