Lawmakers must help teacher shortage | News, Sports, Jobs

Across the country, there has been a loss of as many as 600,000 teachers from public education since January 2020, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. States are scrambling to find ways to fill the gaps.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law an effort to bring back to teaching those who had left the profession, but need only an easier pathway to come back.

State Reps. Mary Lightbody, D-Westerville, and Adam Bird, R-New Richmond, introduced House Bill 554 as another way to lighten the load on those teachers who are trying to do it all, in Ohio schools.

“(Previous) legislation that has been passed to temporarily alter the requirements for substitute teachers has eased some of the pressure on classroom teachers,” Lightbody said, according to a report by the Ohio Capital Journal. “But there are people in Ohio who left teaching to pursue other career choices and may be willing to return to our K-12 classrooms if the pathway were easier.”

Now, the State Board of Education can issue nonrenewable two-year temporary educator licenses to those who have allowed their professional teacher’s certificates or professional educator licenses to expire, but don’t have any disciplinary measures on their teaching record. And the board is required to issue professional educator licenses to those temporary license holders who complete six semester hours or 18 units of continuing education courses in their area of ​​licensure.

It’s a step, but it will not bring in the thousands of teachers needed in Ohio to ensure our children are receiving the education they deserve. Lawmakers should use this and other measures as inspiration to continue thinking outside the box as we face this teacher shortage. The answer is out there — we owe it to our kids to find it.

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