I’m Giulia Heyward, and since this school year began, I’ve covered the nationwide labor shortage affecting so many of the country’s schools.
Many districts have faced staffing problems for years due to low pay, low benefits, and irregular hours. These problems were only made worse by the pandemic.
Substitute teachers have a high demand. To attract more substitute teachers, at least two states, Oregon and Missouri, have removed their degree requirements for potential hires. Other districts raised salaries and provided better benefits. Many schools resorted to remote learning or cancelled classes temporarily after the failed attempt.
These abrupt changes caused families to scramble to find child care and extended their learning losses due the pandemic. These are some of the unconventional strategies used in districts to show the severity of the problem.
State employees — including a governor and the National Guard — are being asked to teach.
New Mexico now has a governor who is a licensed substitute teacher.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham encourages other state employees and the New Mexico National Guard to follow her lead. State workers are being asked for administrative leave to serve as substitute teachers due to the state’s acute staffing shortages.
Others state leaders are doing similar. In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive order will let state employees work as substitutes for the remainder of the school year. One Oklahoma City bank even encouraged its employees to assist.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has made it clear that he. Roy Cooper will allow state employees to go on paid leave and work as substitute teachers.
The new measures seem to be working — more than 120 state employees in Oklahoma have volunteered as substitutes, and 100 state workers in New Mexico, including the National Guard, signed up to do the same.
Some education departments are eliminating application requirements entirely.
Both Oregon and Missouri have relaxed their requirements for substitute college degrees. Increasing numbers of states are joining them.
Last month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from Michigan temporarily allowed school employees to bypass the requirement for a teaching certification to become substitutes. They just need a high-school diploma. The state also allows retired teachers to return to the classroom without losing their retirement benefits.
Kansas’ education board has eliminated the requirement that substitute teachers have a college degree for the remainder of the schoolyear. Anyone who passes a background screening can temporarily become a substitute teacher in Salem (Ohio).
Pennsylvania’s governor stripped requirements so that some college students are now eligible to substitute teach in the state.
Schools are attempting to get parents into the classroom.
One Central Indiana school district is about to return to virtual learning. Its full-time teachers cover each other and other school workers supplement a small pool.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools’ superintendent made an urgent request to parents this month. He asked for help in filling the void. “I ask that — if you have any time in your daily schedule — that you will consider subbing,” Yvonne Stokes said.
All across the country, families are being asked to be substitutes. Austin, Texas school officials asked parents this month to consider becoming substitutes. Another school district in Louisiana has done the same. In Palo Alto, Calif., the superintendent sent a “call to action” to parents.
“No amount of money can solve this issue,” the superintendent, Don Austin, said. “We need your help.”
We are happy to answer any questions you may have for Giulia and other reporters covering education. This form can be used. We’re planning to try to regularly answer questions in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Information
Many districts are using federal stimulus dollars — dedicated to help students recover from remote school — on virtual tutoring.
Gov. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sued Biden to stop the Biden administration from attempting to claw back federal pandemic aid money. Ducey was using the aid to subvert school mask requirements.
And the rest …
A group of twenty mothers in Boston were exhausted. So they met at the 50-yard line of a high school football field one night and screamed and screamed and screamed — letting out some of the stress of parenting during the pandemic.
“It was so nice to feel out of control for the first time,” one of the mothers told Sarah Harmon, Who organized the gathering.
Harmon signaled the beginning of another round of screaming on the football field by raising two unicorn wands from her daughters. They screamed for 20 minutes in a variety of ways, laughing, competing and letting the catharsis wash them over.
Dr. Ellen Vora, a Manhattan psychiatrist, said that mothers often don’t have the time or space to escape. Unlike their children, they can’t have a meltdown. “If you have two to three years of pent-up pressure,” Dr. Vora said, “going and being in a community of other moms and having a big release in the form of a scream is really healthy.”
If you’re in Massachusetts, Harmon is now leading other screams across the state. Or, you could call The Times’s primal scream hotline, which is available to mothers who want to yell, laugh, cry or vent for a solid minute.
Register here to receive the briefing by Email
Source: NY Times