Schools struggling to recruit enough teachers, substitutes, support staff during COVID-19 pandemic

Edustaff in the Flint area is down more than half this school year, according to union official
Carman Ainsworth High School
Carman Ainsworth High School(WJRT)
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 1:16 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Some school districts are scrambling to find qualified teachers, substitutes and support staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re finding, you know, a lot of school districts use a third party service for substitute teachers like Edustaff, and we just found out there is a lot less people that signed up for Edustaff this year,” said Frank Burger, president of the Carman Ainsworth Education Association.

EduStaff didn’t immediately respond to an ABC12 News request for more information, but Burger said they’re down about 50% to 60% in terms of people signing up to substitute teach this fall.

A February report examining Michigan’s workforce found some of the issues to be:

  • Fewer people wanting to go into the profession.
  • Lack of diversity.
  • Educators leaving the field.

Although the shortage isn’t a new issue, the coronavirus pandemic has made it worse. The American Federation of Teachers found that 1 in 3 teachers are retiring earlier than planned because of COVID-19.

“And then when COVID-19 pandemic hit, we saw even more teachers retiring at the last minute because they didn’t want to come back and deal with all this pandemic, whether it be remote learning, whether it be hybrid learning or having to be in front of kids wearing face masks and everything else,” Burger said.

He said teachers want themselves and their students to fee safe and supported. Better pay, cadet programs and equitable funding all are possible solutions listed in the American Federation of Teachers report.

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