Shortage of instructors at NHS grows yearly

It is no secret that Newton High School is currently experiencing a shortage of teachers, substitutes, transportation and more. This has caused distress for administrators, coaches and students.

“Within the last 10 years, you know, subs are more scarce each year, and universities are graduating less education majors,” Assistant Principal Tiffany Stephey said.

Stephey said there is in fact a shortage of teachers and substitute teachers. Because of this shortage, there has been a decrease in the standards required for substitutes, but it doesn’t mean the substitutes are bad with students. According to The Kansas City Star the state usually requires 60 college credit hours, but as of now one only has to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma and pass a background check.

“It takes the right kind of person to be interested in going into a school where they don’t know any of the kids,” Stephey said.

According to The Atlantic, the pandemic caused this substitute problem to spark into something worse than it was. Because teachers were gone, substitutes were needed. Many teachers either retired early or quit for a different profession.

“There are days when it’s overwhelming and you’re scrambling to find someone to cover a classroom,” Stephey said.

Not only are there shortages of teachers, but there is also a shortage of transportation drivers, which has been affecting many coaches and students.

“Situations where we might [normally] take two or three buses, we may have to condense down to one bus, or one bus and a few vans, or something like that, so it’s had a pretty significant impact,” NHS athletic director Brian Becker said.

Becker said that because of the limited number of bus drivers, schedules change and it can be hard for activities to have a set schedule.

“Sometimes it’s been like, go really early, or go later and get there later than they want to,” Becker said.

Becker said this can be hard for coaches because a lot of coaches want to be there by a certain time. Lately, however, it’s been nonnegotiable with these schedules.

“As a district, we have actually offered to pay for coaches and sponsors to get their CDL (Commercial Drivers License). They can take the test and the district will actually cover the cost of that for them so we can hopefully have some more certifications,” Becker said.

According to West Governors University, some ways to fix a shortage would be to increase funding, along with more opportunities for training and education.

“It’s the kids who will feel most of the effect. Fewer teachers mean bigger classes. The state has put out that pretty much anybody can apply for an emergency sub-license if they have credentials that 10 years ago wouldn’t have worked. We’re in such desperate need that standards have been reduced for those who can sub,” Stephey said.