State education system reeling from outbreak

Oregon is relaxing requirements to become a substitute schoolteacher in the face of a widespread shortage stretching educators thin.

SALEM — Oregon is relaxing requirements to become a substitute schoolteacher in the face of a widespread shortage.

Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission Executive Director Anthony Rosilez told Pamplin Media Group on Monday that the licensing agency will file a temporary rule in order to implement an emergency substitute teaching license.

In December 2019, he said, the state had at least 8,300 active substitute licenses, although that number does not include retirees and other part-time school staff with active teaching licenses who can also substitute.

By December, that number dropped to 5,500, and this month, Rosilez said, the state is down to 4,738 substitute teachers.

The emergency rule, which Rosilez said he hoped to finalize this week, will relax a requirement for a bachelor’s degree.

“It temporarily relaxes the specific higher education requirement of the traditional substitute license but mandates impactful administrative support for the emergency licensed sub,” Rosilez said. “This license will allow school districts to reach a wider pool of potential substitute teachers. In terms of the number of people who are applying for sub licenses, we can see that number is significantly down.”

New licenses can take up to seven weeks to process.

The minimum pay rate for licensed substitute teachers, according to state law, is about $195 per day, but it can vary by district.

For information on becoming a substitute in Oregon schools, contact the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission at contact.tspc@tspc.oregon.gov.

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