MSNBC Blames GOP Education Laws For Teacher Shortage

News & Politics

As children start to head back to school, America is facing a teacher shortage and the Friday installment of MSNBC Reports knows who to blame: conservatives.

Host Lindsey Reiser introduced the segment, “As students return to class for the new year, schools are having a tough time finding enough teachers, especially amid growing cultural fights. NBC’s Antonia Hylton returned to South Lake, Texas, where the school week just began. Antonia, what’d you hear from teachers?”

Hylton listed three reasons for the crunch, “Well Lindsey, teachers in South Lake and across Texas are exhausted right now after dealing with pandemic, after dealing with new laws that restrict the way that they can deal with racism and history in their classrooms and dealing with stagnant salaries.”

Of the three things Hylton mentioned, only one would be the focus of the subsequent video report. Those wanting a report on how COVID and salaries have impacted teachers would have to go elsewhere for this was a partisan hit job.

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In the report, Hylton introduced Adam Burns, who “loved his job as a middle school technology teacher in South Lake’s Carroll school system, but after members of a conservative political action committee won the majority of seats on the school board and Texas passed laws on how teachers could address racism in the classroom, Adam and his wife Brandy, who’s black, thought of their 11-year-old son.”

What being a technology teacher has to do with discussions about race was never addressed, but Hylton asked Burns, “Did you feel like you could be true to yourself and stay in this job?” to which Burns answers “No, not at all.”

Later in the segment, Hylton explained, “Given exhaustion and stress from the COVID pandemic, one survey finds as many as 55% of America’s educators are considering leaving the profession.”

Again, there was no elaboration on this point which was an act of journalistic malpractice considering COVID hit blue states and blue school districts as well, but Hylton immediately dived back into the idea of red state culture warriors, “In South Lake, Texas, NBC News has covered extensively conflicts and an active federal civil rights investigation into the treatment of minority and LGBTQ children in the Carroll district. Ninety-three out of 577 teachers left that district last year.”

Hylton then expanded the conversation by bringing on Algebra teacher Kim Ross and Spanish teacher Tim Hamilton. Hamilton refused to take a demotion after posting a picture of himself with a Black Lives Matter mask and “about his beliefs on Facebook” whereas Ross quit because “Part of what we saw and what was happening that made us go, ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore. At least for now.’”

Algebra would appear to have even less to do with race than technology, but Hylton ignored that and then read some polling data from the Texas State Teachers Association in a voiceover, “A new survey found 70% of Texas teachers are considering leaving the profession entirely. The highest number recorded since the survey began in 1980.”

TSTA President Ovidia Molina blamed conservative politicians and parents, “Educators are feeling less support, not just from the elected officials who we felt for a long time, but also seeing an increase of lack of support from our parents because of all the political rhetoric that is being thrown around about who we are.”

The remainder of the segment focused mostly on the effects a shortage would have on remaining teachers, mainly in larger class sizes and workloads never getting to a serious discussion about COVID or salaries.

This segment was sponsored by Verizon.

Here is a transcript for the August 19 show: 

MSNBC Reports

8/19/2022

11:51 AM ET

LINDSEY REISER: As students return to class for the new year, schools are having a tough time finding enough teachers, especially amid growing cultural fights. NBC’s Antonia Hylton returned to South Lake, Texas, where the school week just began. Antonia, what’d you hear from teachers? 

ANTONIA HYLTON: Well Lindsey, teachers in South Lake and across Texas are exhausted right now after dealing with pandemic, after dealing with new laws that restrict the way that they can deal with racism and history in their classrooms and dealing with stagnant salaries. 

Many of them tell me that they, frankly, aren’t paid enough to deal with all the challenges that have been thrown their way in recent years and now a large number of them are looking at leaving the profession. One survey finding that 70% of Texas teachers are looking for a way out. Take a look.

For seven years Adam Burns loved his job as a middle school technology teacher in South Lake’s Carroll school system, but after members of a conservative political action committee won the majority of seats on the school board and Texas passed laws on how teachers could address racism in the classroom, Adam and his wife Brandy, who’s black, thought of their 11-year-old son. 

Did you feel like you could be true to yourself and stay in this job? 

ADAM BURNS: No, not at all. 

HYLTON: Adam quit in July but says Carroll Schools haven’t found his replacement and his contract requires him to stay until they do. 

BURNS My message to other teachers would be true to be true yourself. For the district, I would say it’s time to start listening to the people that you employ. 

HYLTON: Given exhaustion and stress from the COVID pandemic, one survey finds as many as 55% of America’s educators are considering leaving the profession. In South Lake, Texas, NBC News has covered extensively conflicts and an active federal civil rights investigation into the treatment of minority and LGBTQ children in the Carroll district. Ninety-three out of 577 teachers left that district last year. 

KIM ROSS: Here’s three teachers that–. 

TIM HAMILTON: Three really good teachers. 

ROSS: Amazing teachers. 

HAMILTON: I mean—I mean—kids loved us and kids learned from us.

HYLTON: Tim Hamilton taught Spanish for nine years. A group of residents became outraged when he wore a Black Lives Matter mask and posted about his beliefs on Facebook. Administrators demoted him and Tim refused to take the position. 

HAMILTON: And the almost decade that I spent in the district, that was worthless, that meant nothing to them.

HYLTON: Carroll Schools did not comment on any personnel matters regarding the teachers we spoke with. Kim Ross quit last spring after teaching algebra for 13 years. 

ROSS: Part of what we saw and what was happening that made us go, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. At least for now.”

HYLTON: They might fire you for doing this interview. 

BURNS: Well, they can’t fire me because I quit. 

HYLTON: A new survey found 70% of Texas teachers are considering leaving the profession entirely. The highest number recorded since the survey began in 1980. Ovidia Molina is the president of the Texas State Teachers Association.

OVIDIA MOLINA: Educators are feeling less support, not just from the elected officials who we felt for a long time, but also seeing an increase of lack of support from our parents because of all the political rhetoric that is being thrown around about who we are. 

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