In the last five years, the number of long-term substitutes taking over public classrooms has risen tenfold in Michigan. Critics say reliance on subs is an embarrassment for a state with lagging school performance.
One was a wedding planner. The other, an assistant basketball coach. Their stories say a lot about how Michigan increasingly is using long-term substitutes, full-time teachers with no training in education to lead classrooms.
At the fast-growing Charlton Heston Academy in St. Helen, nearly half of classrooms were staffed by uncertified, long-term substitutes last year. Superintendent says it’s not ideal, but charter can’t attract certified teachers.
University of Michigan School of Education dean Elizabeth Birr Moje says Michigan risks widening achievement gaps between poor and more affluent students through the increased use of untrained teachers.
More and more public schools are struggling to find someone to lead classes when teachers are out – a sign of a growing teacher shortage and a humming economy where people can find more lucrative jobs.
Bridge Magazine uncovered that up to 50,000 K-12 students in Michigan are being taught by long-term (often uncertified) substitute teachers. You can weigh in and hear experts talk about this troubling trend, and how to fix it.
Long-term subs have spiked in recent years. Paying more could help solve the issue – and so could stopping ‘talking about teachers as if they’re idiots,’ according to a panel of experts convened by Bridge.
Sabrina, 8, is caught in the crossfire of two state education crises – the state’s new third-grade “read-or-flunk” law and an explosion in the use of uncertified long-term substitute teachers in state classrooms.