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From Paying Parents to Transport Their Kids to School to Calling Out the National Guard — Innovating in the Face of a Bus Driver Shortage

BY debraabritt
The 74 news logo

Chad Aldeman and Marguerite Roza
Published September 21, 2021 on The 74

Public schools are not known for being particularly innovative. But there’s an old saying that necessity is the mother of invention, and COVID-19 may indeed be pushing some districts to adopt strategies they had long ignored.

An interesting set of case examples is surfacing as districts race to handle transportation issues this fall. Fueled by pandemic fears, strained labor markets and vaccine requirements, widespread shortages of bus drivers have left many districts scrambling to find a way to get kids to school as classes started up again. Newspaper headlines have blared stories of unfilled bus driver positions, delays in school start dates, canceled bus routes and hours-long waits for kids.

How districts react to these unusual labor challenges may be telling us something important: Whether they can adapt to meet the moment and which, if any, will consider adopting innovations that are common in other industries outside of education.

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