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Districts Nationwide Report Shortage of Substitute Teachers

School districts across America are struggling to find substitute teachers for their classrooms, and in some extreme cases, are having older students teach younger ones for a day.

"School officials day the shortage worsened as the unemployment rate improved, and job seekers who might have settled for a part-time job such as substitute teaching are now insisting on full-time positions with better pay and benefits," reports Tom Coyne from the Associated Press. Coyne detailed a case where a fifth-grade student had to help first grade students with their reading and worksheets for a full week because no substitute could be found for her absent teacher, prompting her mother to be concerned about her daughter's standard of education.

"A frequent source of substitutes has been education majors looking for experience," reports Coyne. "But officials say fewer college students are choosing teacher as a career path, in part because of recent layoffs and concerns about new education standards, including efforts in some states to link teacher evaluations with student test scores. Because of the shortage, many schools find alternatives. In middle schools and high schools, teachers often are paid extra to forego preparation time to fill in for absent teachers."

Unfortunately, officials say the alternatives to substitutes all have drawbacks. Diving classrooms make it difficult to teachers to be effective as not all classes learn at the same pace, and using other school staff causes problems as it takes away from time spent doing administrative duties.

Read the full story.

By Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor

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