New Study: $40 Stipend Draws Substitute Teachers into Hard-to-Staff Schools

Even before the pandemic and the culture wars swept through public education, nearly 600,000 substitute teachers covered more than 30 million teacher absences a year — a larger share of the labor market than taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers combined.

But they weren’t enough. An estimated one out of every five requests for substitutes typically went unfilled pre-pandemic, leaving tens of thousands of classrooms unstaffed and instruction in thousands of schools in near-constant turmoil, especially in under-resourced schools serving Black, Hispanic and low-income students. COVID-19 has only further diminished the substitute supply and heightened competition among schools for a dwindling resource amid widespread teacher shortages.

This summary originated from a story produced by Matthew A. Kraft, Grace Falken, and Phyllis W. Jordan of The 74, a non-profit, independent news organization focused on education in America.