State of Missouri changes teacher and substitute requirements to combat shortage

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri is changing its teaching requirements to combat a widespread shortage.

Anyone looking to teach scoring just below a passing grade can get their license if they’ve completed other requirements such as maintaining a 3.0 GPA in their college work and supervised student teaching. For substitute teaching, retired teachers have no limit on their work hours, and anyone who completes DESE’s 20-hour course can now substitute.

“Retirement requirements for retired teachers the state has lifted the hours that they can substitute teach so now a retired teacher can basically substitute all they want,” said Superintendent Jim Dickey with Mountain Grove Schools. ”There is also now the ability now for a substitute teacher to receive that certification through online training that they can do through DESE’s website.”

Dickey says the district is excited about the new requirements because it allows good people in the community to substitute.

Missouri’s National Education Association president doesn’t think this is the best way to fix the problem.

“Teachers want the best for kids when they are gone, and it’s really hard to prepare quality plans for learning when you know the substitute may have never been into your classroom before,” said Laura Mullins with the MNEA. “I think everybody loses when we lower the expectation.”

Mullins also says she has concerns about the retention rate of the substitutes or teachers staying for the long haul.

“There are plenty of people that met the old requirements that if they had better pay and if they had more professional work, it would make the difference,” said Mullins. “Instead of lowering the bar, we need to increase the respect that they’re shown when they’re there in our schools.”

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