Schools nationwide struggle to fill open positions, hire substitute teachers


The coronavirus pandemic has placed a strain on most industries and has impacted millions of people across the country. As students returned to the classroom for the start of the 2021-2022 school year, school districts across the country have faced many challenges. 

A nationwide labor shortage has left some schools looking to fill many open positions, but has also left some schools struggling to find replacement staff. The National Educators Association reports there is also a nationwide substitute teacher shortage. 

SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER SHORTAGE IMPACTING 48 STATES

“This is a serious problem with potential effects for future generations,” NEA President Becky Pringle said in a statement. 

In California, both large and small school districts are dealing with the issue of finding staff to fill in when teachers call out. 

“It’s a fact, we are embracing a sub shortage for multiple factors. Individuals do not want to sub or there’s opportunities in the county we’re in right now,” Clovis Unified School District Associate Superintendent Barry Jagger said. 

Jagger said he’s even had to fill in inside of the classroom. 

Rural school districts have especially been hit hard, Nevada Joint Union School District Brett McFadden said. 

SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER SHORTAGE IMPACTING 48 STATES

“Suddenly when you have one case, you can have 30 to 100 individuals that need to quarantine at a time,” McFadden said. 

Finding replacements for staff is challenging and something both administrators are struggling to do. 

“We are working daily to reach out to our retirees, reach out to our classified employees who meet the sub requirements and process them quickly,” Jagger said. 

Both districts have increased pay for the substitute teachers. 

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McFadden said he doesn’t expect the shortage of staff to return to normal anytime soon. “We have to deal with these employment and employee shortages for the next couple years. I don’t think it’s a passing fad,” he said.

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