August 29, 2022

Using Covid Relief Funds to Rehire Retired Teachers Could Help Address Teacher Shortage

With school districts across the country facing steep teacher shortages — causing class sizes to swell and threatening to stagnate student achievement — some states are offering bonuses to prevent their most experienced teachers from retiring.

One solution involves states using funds appropriated by the American Rescue Plan (COVID-19 Stimulus Package), which Congress passed last year; that money can be used to rehire retired teachers, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said during an appearance on “Face the Nation” last Sunday. He added that states must also make sure they support educators and improve their working conditions as part of an overall strategy to address the increased need.

The Des Moines, Iowa school system is even offering a $50,000 retirement bonus for longtime educators if they stay one more year.

“Retired teachers have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in their field, so it is no wonder many are being asked to return,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “They should accept the offers if that is their choice, or enjoy the retirement they have earned if that is their preference.”

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