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Adapting in education

Ohio lawmakers are considering a proposal that would extend the waiver of the requirement that substitute teachers have a four-year degree. The change was initially necessary when pandemic challenges created a desperate need for substitute teachers that has not subsided.

Even the Ohio Education Association acknowledges extending the waiver may be necessary, though members, along with the Ohio Federation of Teachers, are not fans of the idea. They call the measure a band-aid and point to the need for more help for full-time teachers.

“There is an awful lot that we ask of teachers,” OEA President Scott DiMauro told WOSU-FM in Columbus. “Public schools do such critical work, not just academic learning, but social-emotional needs of kids and serving as hubs in communities.”

That’s true, and lawmakers must bear it in mind as they steer clear of perpetually extending a solution without addressing the root problem. But in the meantime, there is much to learn from two years of lowered requirements for substitute teachers.

In other words, there’s more to being a teacher than having been granted a piece of paper that says you’ve earned a four-year degree.

Certainly the right education and training is important for those who have chosen education as a career, but it is not the only thing that helps them play an important role in our children’s education.

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