Missouri frees the submarines. teacher demands again

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For the second time in two years, Missouri has relaxed requirements for substitute teachers to combat a statewide shortage.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed legislation earlier this summer allowing the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to change procedures for certifying substitute teachers.

Starting in June 2022, the state will only require applicants to have 36 college credit hours, up from 60 hours in previous years. According to the Missouri DESE website, the state is also pursuing an alternative first approved in 2020 that would allow prospective substitute teachers to complete a 20-hour online training course instead of college credit requirements.

Missouri Senate Bill 681, which changed the college credit requirement in Missouri’s substitute teaching application process, states that applicants may be approved for a four-year certificate to replace teaching s meet state course or college credit requirements, complete a background check, and hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

Recently signed legislation could also create more opportunities for retired teachers to serve as substitutes. Until June 30, 2025, retired teachers who have replacement certification may replace teaching on a part-time or temporary basis without having those hours and salary affect their retirement allowance.

In order to maintain their certification, substitute teachers will be required to complete at least 5 days or 40 hours over a calendar year and meet the criteria for their specific school district.

The state’s push for more substitute teachers comes as Missouri faces a teacher shortage. The Missouri DESE estimated a shortage of about 5% of qualified teachers and full-time employees in a December 2021 report.

Amid such a shortage, Missouri is also working to gather feedback from current teachers, principals, and superintendents on how to address teacher recruitment and retention challenges. If you are certified in one of these roles and are hoping to provide your feedback in a survey, click here.

Educators can also provide feedback to the Missouri State Board of Education’s Blue Ribbon Teacher Recruitment and Retention Commission during an in-person meeting in Jefferson City at 4 p.m. Wednesday. To follow the event live, click here.

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