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New data shows many Chicago schools are not getting the substitute teachers they need when they request them; especially those schools serving Black and Latino students. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is sounding the alarm as they shed light on the frightening facts.
Earlier this week CTU President Jesse Sharkey explained to the Chicago Board of Education, “Our teachers, clinicians, and [support staff] are straining under the conditions.”
During the first two months of the 2021 school year, substitute teacher requests were filled only 63% of the time, with some schools having less percentage, according to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) data.
Roughly one-third of the schools had no substitute show up upon request. Most of these educational institutions serve Latino and Black students.
Sharkey visited North Lawndale’s Frazier Elementary this week. She saw they had a librarian — which is rare to see in the school system. However, the librarian spent most of her time filling in for absent teachers. Christen Martin stated the school’s art teacher has to do the same thing.
Martin further stated that it is also difficult to “get people to come to the neighborhood.” She has taken it upon herself to “step up” to help fulfill a great need.
The information gathered by CPS shows that schools with a majority of Latino students had their substitute requests filled 69% of the time. Those with a majority of Black students had a 60% fill rate. Schools with a sizeable Caucasian student population had their substitute teacher requests filled 80% of the time.
CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Pedro Martinez, acknowledges the school district is struggling to find substitute teachers; more so than in the past. He added that this is a national problem emanating from the “perfect storm of COVID and a tight labor market.”
The school district is trying to increase its substitute teaching force in addition to seeing if existing subs will take on more assignments. If a substitute takes on 12 or more assignments they can earn an extra $420 a month.
CPS is also attempting to hire more full-time substitute teachers who will be assigned to specific schools. They will focus their attention on the 39 schools that currently have teacher vacancies.
Written by Sheena Robertson
WBEZ: Chicago’s substitute teacher shortage is hitting Black and Latino schools especially hard; Sarah Karp
Images Courtesy of Eric Allix Rogers’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License