Wanted: Permanent Teacher

FUSD hiring policy leads to less learning

By Radhika Munshani | Staff Writer

Several classes at Irvington are still taught by substitutes, over two months into the school year. This inability to find full-time teachers can be traced back to FUSD hiring policy. The policy establishes a preference for hiring intradistrict teachers over educators who have taught outside the district until April 15 of the current school year. Only after this deadline is administration free to consider all applicants equally for the job, and have approximately 4 months before the start of the next school year to do so.This policy leaves school administration little time to find full-time teachers, causing inconsistencies in teaching for students and reliance on long-term substitutes, both of which lead to adverse effects for students in regards to learning ability, grading, and progression.

Without a permanent teacher, students are subject to great inconsistency. Long-term substitutes can only teach for a maximum of 30 days. After this period, a new long-term substitute must be hired to instruct the class. This constant change of instructors disrupts students’ ability to learn. There is no regularity in material, teaching style, and grading,all of which can negatively impact the degree to which a student can learn effectively and consistently, and even the accuracy of a student’s grade.

Several students has voiced their concerns about substitutes as well. “The sub effectively took away a month of potential learning from us, ” said junior Humza Khan. “It kept us doing what can only be described as busy work.”

Under a substitute teacher, students cannot progress as consistently as they would under a permanent teacher, especially academically. A study conducted by Matthew Kraft, Assistant Professor of Education at Brown University, found that “hiring teachers after the school year starts reduces student achievement by 0.042 SD in mathematics and 0.026 SD in reading.” Once hired, the permanent teachers often have to reteach material and re-establish relationships with students. The study concluded that “late-hired teachers remain persistently less effective…relative to other teachers in their same school, grade, and year…because they have less time to…learn new curriculum, develop lesson plans, and learn school operations and…must juggle these tasks while teaching.” Using substitutes stalls students’ learning, leaving them unprepared despite having taken the class.

While the administration scrambles to secure permanent teachers, substitutes continue to teach classes one month at a time, resulting in an educational disadvantage. Students shouldn’t have to the pay the price for a district policy that leaves administrators with little time to find stable educators. Despite FUSD policy, better balancing applicants with deadlines would aid in alleviating the situation, and ensure students’ education is not neglected, but rather takes priority.