Teachers nationwide are quitting their jobs at an alarming rate. Florida's Lee County School District is dealing with a major shortage, with several teachers quitting after feeling financially undervalued and facing a lack of discipline among students.
Stacey Sawyer is one of the many teachers choosing to cut ties with her 30-year career as an educator, arguing that students' behavior has gotten "out of control" since the pandemic.
"The behavior issues have gotten out of control from a lot of things. There are no subs for teachers, so they're having to work during their planning and take over other classes," Sawyer said during an appearance on "The Big Money Show." "Those classes are getting inundated with more and more students. The district just puts more work on to the teachers and there is no extra pay. And I think that teachers are just – they're tired. ‘Teacher tired’ is a whole different ballgame, and they've had enough."
The teacher shortage is not unique to the state of Florida. Some students are finding themselves in classes without licensed teachers while districts across the nation face shortages across the board – ranging from school nurses and psychologists to educators.
Clark County School District, the largest in Nevada and the fifth largest in the United States, is also the district facing the most teacher vacancies in the state.
Co-host Jackie DeAngelis asked the former teacher what she believes could be an impactful solution, and for her, the answer was simple: Higher pay.
"They need extra pay because otherwise it just seems like they're doing it all for nothing. They keep getting extra put on top of them. 'Do this,' 'work an extra hour after school' and 'work during your weekends,' and add more to it. And so the pay is not worth it anymore to some of these teachers," Sawyer said.
"They feel like they're being taken advantage of. And they are. And if you want to keep your teachers, especially your veteran teachers, your veteran teachers are going to be the ones that help you and that help the younger teachers. They need to be paid. And those younger teachers need to see that, 'Hey, the longer that I stay in the profession, I'm going to get paid more.'"
In correlation to the teacher shortage, the U.S. education system is experiencing "multi-decade lows" when it comes to student test scores, as noted by substitute co-host Lydia Hu.
Sawyer explained that students who are giving minimal effort are being "pushed along," allowing them to continue to under-perform. She argues that teachers are "doing the best" they can, but parents need to make sure they're getting their kids to school.
"We are seeing our students being pushed along. So, I've had students that have missed 70 some days of school, and they still got pushed along. They were given a test at the end of the year, and even given help on that test. And they passed the test, and they move them along," she added.
"I'm not sure if the teachers can do anything about it. We try we make phone calls. We try to get them in the school. We're doing the best that we can, but we need parents' help also. Parents need to make sure that they're getting their kids to school, and they're not."
FOX Business' Sunny Tsai contributed to this report.