LANSING, Michigan (WJRT) – Michigan school districts are constantly struggling with staff shortages.
Now secretaries, bus drivers and cafeteria workers may soon be running classrooms to help tackle shortages if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer decides to sign a bill introduced by lawmakers earlier this week.
However, there is a mixed reaction statewide about the solution.
A Mid-Michigan school said it was okay with the idea of ââsupport staff giving classes, while the Michigan Education Association says this temporary fix could create more problems.
“Our support professionals, whom we represent in the thousands across the state, are great at what they do. But they are not qualified teachers,” said MEA spokesperson David Crim. . âWe don’t ask a teacher to drive a 45-foot school bus and we shouldn’t ask bus drivers to teach fourth graders long division. That’s not what they were for. trained. “
State Representative Brad Paquette, who sponsored the bill, said it would help ease the pandemic-related staff pressure on school districts. The bill would lift the current policy that support staff could teach as long as they have graduated from high school or have an equivalent certificate.
âThere is a desperate need to ease the burden in our classroom. The main objective of this bill allows people who are already employed by the district not to have to have the requirement of 60 university credits to replace teaching, âsaid Paquette.
Lapeer Community School superintendent Matt Wandrie said he did not know of any school district that would refuse to increase support during these difficult times.
âConsistency is as important as just filling the position, as children relate to all of our support staff,â said Wandrie. âHaving these adult faces on a consistent daily basis to reassure them that we are competent at their jobs is a big part of the defense against all of these things.
Paquette said he hoped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would sign the bill within a week, as school districts are in desperate need of immediate staffing help.