The Times, They Are a-Changin’
All across the nation, businesses and other organizations have felt the pain of the down economy and are trying to figure out how to “do more with less." Public school districts have been hit just as hard as any other entity – if not harder. Budgets are being cut, teachers are being laid off, and many schools are closing completely. What does an organization do when there’s not enough money to go around? It starts looking for “unnecessary" expenses to trim. Because of this, the budget for substitute teaching has been reduced to bare minimum in many districts.
Well, just because a district can’t afford to pay substitute teachers, that doesn’t mean they’re no longer needed, right? Not everyone would agree with that last statement. For instance, in an Education Week editorial piece, John Fitzsimons puts forth several interesting points why he believes that substitutes aren’t needed to cover short-term absences of high school teachers. Instead, he suggests that teachers work out a plan with their students which discusses what they should do if the teacher is absent. These plans could include self-study options, working on group projects, or auditing other classes.
While many may agree with the claims that high school substitutes are more akin to babysitters than teachers, there has still been a lot of backlash to Fitzsimons’ proposal. But, is that really because people don’t feel high school students are mature enough to be left unattended at school or because this proposed change questions the way things have always been done?