For many educators, the 2022-2023 school year was harder than the pandemic years. 

Sharif El-Mekki, founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development, recalled a recent conversation with a principal describing the challenges. 

“Every time there’s a shortage in your school, it has a ripple effect,” El-Mekki says.

If a teacher is absent, of course students’ routines and schedules are impacted. But it extends to their colleagues. What if there aren’t substitute teachers available? Who will cover the class? Then, losing that time means teachers have less time to prepare, build relationships, and reach out to families. 

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