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MPS without 250 + teachers as the start of traditional school year nears

"We're all here to make sure our children get the best education."
Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 30, 2022

MILWAUKEE — One week from Tuesday, hundreds of Milwaukee Public School (MPS) students will start the school year, but without hundreds of teachers.

MPS is faced with filling 259 vacant positions, one they say they are aggressively and actively recruiting for.

TMJ4 spoke to several parents about their concerns. Many pointed to the quality of education their children will receive with so many vacancies across the district.

"This is my sixth year at MPS, and this is the worse," said Angela Harris, first-grade MPS teacher and head of the Black Educators Caucus.

Harris is worried about how the teacher shortage will impact students.

"Makes me very concerned that so many students across MPS are going to start without a teacher," Harris said.

She believes there are several reasons why the state's largest school district and other area districts are facing this issue.

"Fewer teacher candidates are entering into schools to become teachers," Harris said.

A study from the Wisconsin Policy Forum shows there has been a 20% drop in people getting bachelor's degrees or certificates in education.

"Teachers are overworked, underpaid, and add in the lack of respect, and it's just not a viable position for folks," Harris said.

Harris said as the chair of the union, she's taking more and more calls from teachers.

"More Black educators in the last six months say they no longer are interested in being teachers," she said.

It's a concern for parents like Janieka Oliver with children in the district.

"It takes a village, so we most definitely need that help," Oliver said.

We reached out to MPS for an interview about the open positions but did not hear back.

Parents and educators are hopeful for solutions soon.

"Hopefully district comes up with some sort of expedited process for folks in the hiring process right now," Harris said.

"We are all here to make sure our children get the best education," Oliver added.

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