State Rep. Holly Hughes of Montague was joined by Jeff Johnson, superintendent of Montague Public Schools, to testify before the House Education Reform Committee today.
Both were speaking on two Hughes bills to address the catastrophic shortage of available substitute teachers to work in Michigan classrooms.
“We have heard about the substitute teacher shortage for years, but today in committee, the numbers presented were staggering,” Hughes said. “According to testimony, approximately 1,200 substitute positions are unfilled each day statewide. However, it’s important that we have qualified individuals filing those positions to ensure that our kids have opportunities to learn each day. These two bills make sure that happens.”
Superintendent Johnson agreed. “This legislation will help put talented educators and professionals in front of our students to maximize each instructional day we have with kids,” he said.
Under current state law, only those individuals who have achieved 90 college credits can substitute teach. House Bill 4421 would give individuals who have a professional state license or certification the opportunity to become substitute teachers in a subject related to their license or certification. Allowing this would be especially helpful in finding substitute teachers for classes which focus on career and technical education or skilled trades.
House Bill 4422, similar to Hughes’ legislation approved during the 2015-16 House session, would allow retired teachers to return to the school district they retired from to substitute teach without negatively affecting their retirement benefits. The new legislation would eliminate a July 2018 expiration on current state law, allow those who retired before the current school year to substitute, and eliminate a provision in current law which makes it more expensive for districts to hire retired teachers in substitute positions.
Jeff Johnson, superintendent of Montague Public Schools, and state Rep. Holly Hughes spoke with the House Education Reform Committee today in support of two Hughes bills which addresses substitute teacher shortages in Michigan.