- Substitute teachers are already critical to the school environment
- Could funds be allocated to help substitutes find a long-term path to teaching?
California is investing $350 million in teacher residencies, recognizing the need for effective teachers, which too many of our classrooms are missing. But this big bet isn’t working. Why? Too many people can’t afford to take on the financial liability to train for the position.
If we know the approach isn’t working, we need to look toward another solution: Substitute teachers.
The average K-12 student spends one year of their education with a substitute. However, 56 percent of substitute teachers receive no training. Every day in America, there is a need for 250,000 substitute teachers, but 77 percent of school districts report acute substitute staffing challenges. It’s a reminder that students don’t get do-overs; every day of their education matters.
Substitute teachers are an important part of our school ecosystem. They impact our students, as well as the well-being of our teachers. Not having effective substitutes–or, let’s be honest, any additional person with a college degree willing to help–is also impacting teachers unable to pursue professional development without sacrificing their student’s learning.
What if we put some of this investment in residencies into professionalizing substitute teachers and giving them a pathway into long-term teaching?
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