Teachers across the country are feeling burned out and depleted, particularly as school coronavirus policies and staffing shortages make their jobs more difficult. According to a survey by the RAND Corporation, almost one-quarter of teachers planned to leave the profession in 2021, and teachers experienced higher rates of work-related stress and depression than other adults.
A recent letter from teachers and staff at a small Vermont public elementary school to their superintendent and school board members echoes the feelings of many public school personnel. “Everybody is stepping up to try to do what is asked of them; everybody is feeling inadequate, exhausted, and defeated much of the time,” wrote educators at the Ottauquechee School in Hartford. “Colleagues are questioning whether changing professions is in their best interest.”
The Albemarle County School Board passed a transgender policy on August 12. Less than a week later on Wednesday, Albemarle resident Randy Zackrisson announced a write-in campaign to challenge board Chair Graham Paige in the Samuel Miller District.
“This is why I’m running for school board: to respect parental rights. To let the parents decide how to raise their children. That’s their responsibility, not the school system,” Zackrisson said in an announcement speech posted to Facebook by Philip Hamilton, Republican candidate for House of Delegates District 57.
Public comment periods at the Loudoun County School Board have repeatedly gone viral as hundreds of parents and activists speak out against new transgender policies mandated by law and Critical Race Theory (CRT) equity initiatives. There’s also an effort to recall six of the school board members. But Loudoun County Public Schools isn’t the only Virginia school district to see new growth in public involvement in school politics.
Alongside five-days-a-week in-person instruction, Albemarle County is planning to offer an optional all-virtual school for elementary, middle, and high school students for the 2021-2022 school year. The virtual school will have its own principal and teachers, according to an Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) press release.
“My recommendation will be that our school board approve this plan as the default unless, of course, circumstances materially change,” ACPS Superintendent Matthew Haas said in the press release.