News & Media

Substitute teacher shortage hits another midstate district

10/26/2015 WITF By Ben Allen

(Gettysburg) -- A midstate school district says it needs more substitute teachers, but the problem is far more widespread.

Gettysburg says in the first 43 days of school, 89 classrooms that needed a substitute didn't get one.

Instead, another full-time teacher had to use their planning time to step in, or in one extreme case, students were split up and sent to other classes.

Superintendent Larry Redding says most of the time, the district is fully-staffed...

"But when that one person's not, because it is critical when we're missing somebody and don't have a way to fill it without interfering with what somebody else is doing, or has scheduled for that day," says Redding.

Redding says part of the issue, is fewer people are going into teaching.

"At the top of the list has been the budget cuts, will there be jobs there? And then the basic bashing of teachers as a profession. Obviously there are people choosing not to make teaching their career and that's most troublesome," he adds.

He points to state numbers that show a 62 percent drop in the number of teaching certificates issued to college graduates in Pennsylvania from 2012 to 2014.

He says to solve the problem, more young people need to see teaching as a rewarding profession.

Besides Gettysburg, the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 held its first-ever job fair for substitutes last spring and more than 470 Philadelphia classrooms lacked a teacher this September.

Read More