MCPS Board of Education addresses substitute shortages

MCPS Board of Education addresses substitute shortages

By Vicky Gunawan, Observations Editor

Substitute teachers are among the least appreciated of teachers. They are called last minute to work, but they are still able to conduct classes with organization and poise.

Recently in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), there has been a shortage of substitute teachers. Because of this, the MCPS Board of Education is looking to lower the requirements for these instructors and are exploring the possibility of hiring substitute teachers with less education or without certification.

The MCPS regulation states that to be eligible, the applicant must first be employed in the U.S. The applicant must also have a minimum completion of a bachelor’s degree or present proof of a teacher education program that includes student teaching from an accredited institution. Applicants for a vocational program may be considered without a bachelor’s degree must have at least two years of college or experience in the related area.

According to a AASA article, Howard County’s substitute teacher usage has risen 9.9 percent and in Madison, Ohio, the number of substitute teachers available has been at its lowest in 18 years.

Not only is the shortage occuring in MCPS, it is also occurring throughout the country. In Niagara Falls, N.Y., the substitute teacher shortage is prevalent.

According to a Mar. 5, 2018 2WGRZ article, some full time Niagara Falls teachers are being asked to cover more classes with their free periods for more pay because of the increasing difficult to find a fill in when a teacher calls in sick or takes a leave of absence.

Members of the MCPS Board of Education hope that those with associate’s degrees or students who are enrolled at Montgomery College will be able to apply as substitute teachers. Since the statewide requirement to be a substitute teacher is a high school diploma, this is definitely possible.

“Substitute teachers play an important role at WCHS and I think that lowering the standards to become one is extremely crucial,” senior Megan Park said. “Teachers will sometimes need to take sudden leaves of absences and being able to replace the teacher quickly is beneficial to students and to the school.”

The high standards to be considered as an applicant for a substitute teacher have caused inconsistent access to substitute teachers. This in turn causes an inconsistency in learning for students.

According to an AASA article, the decline in quantity and quality of substitute teachers is largely a result of today’s competitive job market where there are many alternative employment opportunities for substitute teachers..

The MCPS Board of Education will vote to adopt the resolution to lower the requirements for substitute teachers at their next meeting.