- Employment in state and local education has plummeted since February 2020.
- State and local budgets have also been slashed during the coronavirus pandemic, leading educators to call for more federal funding so they can safely reopen.
- The pandemic may also exacerbate preexisting teacher shortages.
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State and local education employment has plummeted since February 2020, according to the Bureau of Labour statistics.
Between February and May, nearly one million less people were employed in the space. Although the numbers began to rise in June and July, July still saw over 600,000 fewer jobs than February’s high.
The vast majority of school funding – 90%, according to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – comes from state and local districts. Many of those budgets have been slashed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Educators have called for more federal funding in order to reopen safely.
There’s also speculation that the pandemic could increase teacher shortages, which was already a problem pre-coronavirus. In Des Moines, as teachers take leave or retire due to the pandemic, requirements for becoming a substitute teacher have been eased.
“It is basically a band-aid on a broader issue on the possibility of being short of personnel,” Mike Beranek, the head of Iowa’s teacher union, told Chris Gothner at KCCI News.