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California Face Severe Shortage of Sub Teachers

Across the state of California, a shortage of substitute teachers are prevalent and school administrators scramble for a solution to make sure that an adult is present in classrooms when teachers are absent because of COVID-19 related reasons.

In a report from Cal Matters, Kelly Rhoden, a principal at Nevada Union High School reiterated how she spent her Monday morning trying to find a substitute teacher for her absent teachers.

“We have quite a few teachers out either because they’ve tested positive, they’re symptomatic, or they have their children who are in quarantine,” she said. “At the end of the day, we just don’t have enough substitutes.”

The school, located about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, has 86 teachers, and 13 were out on Monday.

“Last October, we had to go back to distance learning because I ran out of substitutes,” said Brett McFadden, superintendent of Nevada Joint Union High. “Not because we didn’t have enough protective equipment. I ran out of adults.”

“You get to a point where you’re just begging and borrowing people from all over the district,” McFadden said. “I love my students dearly, but I’m not gonna leave 30 of them alone in a room.”

Earlier this year, a report presented that educators will be facing an early retirement by 2021. The California State Teachers Retirement System issued: teacher retirements in California are projected to hit nearly record-breaking heights in 2021.

COVID-19 related reasons aside, California also faces early retirements and sub teachers shortages due to compensation-related issues.

Many more teachers could retire by the end of the school year. But the first surge already occurred in the second half of 2020, which saw a 26% increase in retirements over the same period from the previous year, according to CalSTRS.

Recommended Read: Two Teachers Die of COVID-19, Texas Schools Shut Down

On the brighter side, in hopes of attracting new substitute teachers, school districts have increased their pay rates.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District held an emergency meeting in early August to increase pay for subs.

The district increased pay for short-term subs from $122 to $200 a day. For long-term substitutes, the pay went from $180 to $283 a day.

In response, the neighboring Sweetwater Union High School District increased its rate from $160 to $240 a day.

Sub Shortage: How bad is it?

According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the agency that licenses full-time and substitutes teachers, California has seen declining numbers of new substitute teachers every year.

In the 2018-19 school year, the agency issued about 64,000 substitute teaching permits. In 2020-21, it issued close to 47,000.

“It’s not terrifically challenging to get a sub permit in California,” said Mary Sandy, the executive director of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. “But the need is utterly critical.”

Sub teachers need to have a bachelor’s degree and meet “basic skills requirement” by presenting a standard test score or having B’s or better in college-level reading, writing, and mathematics courses.

Mara Rev Resma
Mara Rev Resmahttps://theeastcountygazette.com/
An experienced content and news writer based in Cebu City. She is a graduate of BA in Mass Communication at the University of the Philippines Cebu College. She enjoys reading books and creating poems when she’s not writing news. She has two lovely kids she absolutely adores.
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