ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This week on Empire State Weekly, a new school year has brought a list of new challenges for students, teachers, and administrators. A nationwide teacher shortage has impacted New York State districts in addition to the ongoing decrease in COVID-19-related health and safety protocols.

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David Little, the Executive Director of the State’s Rural Schools Association explains that all schools are facing the same issue of few teachers available as many retired during the high of the pandemic. Additionally, he says they’ve had difficulty finding qualified teachers to hire for subjects including special education and secondary math. According to state data enrollment in teacher education programs has declined 53 percent since 2009.

Also this week, the HALT Solitary Campaign released an interpretation of data from the Department of Corrections, they claim it shows over 45% of people in segregated confinement have been locked illegally in solitary for more than 15 consecutive days. Jerome Wright, an organizer with the campaign says he believes NYSCOPBA is wrong in attempting to blame HALT for an increase in assaults on prison staff following HALT’s passage.

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