Education bill would make it easier to become substitute teacher if passes

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Becoming a substitute teacher in Missouri could soon become easier, that’s if Jefferson City passes a bill reducing the required college credit hours, to become a K-12 substitute teacher.

Right now, you need 60 credit hours, but a state lawmaker wants to change that to 36.

Steven Sparkman, the branch manager at PENMAC Staffing says he supports it. and that it would help schools facing a sub shortage.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Sparkman said. “We’ve seen schools across the state have been hurting for substitutes for several years. More so this past school year because of the pandemic. Regardless, this is a change that would be needed as long as substitutes are provided the training they need so they can be successful.”

From September through February, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offered a temporary 22-hour training course online for those who didn’t have enough college credits.

Sparkman says he believes DESE is going to push for that, along with this bill.

He says if this passes, it would help college students get their substitute teacher certificate faster, which could make a big difference in someone’s career.

“Start substituting a little bit earlier,” Sparkman said. “Kind of get their feet wet to be able to work in different districts, different classrooms, grades, really kind of better identify where they would like to be whenever they graduate. For college students, even those that aren’t going to school to be a teacher, sometimes they just need part-time jobs. Being a substitute is very flexible.”

The committee hasn’t voted on this bill yet.

But things have been looking better for PENMAC, Sparkman says it has filled 95% of it openings in the past three to four months.

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