Concerns Over Substitute Teachers in Cleveland Schools

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CLEVELAND--Is your child getting the education they deserve?

Many local parents are saying, they are several months into the school year and are upset because substitute teachers are still running the show.

"Why is it that we keep having teachers and losing teachers and having teachers and losing them again?" asked John Adams High School senior, Taylor Austin.

She says more than two months into the school year, her Spanish class is still being taught by a substitute teacher.

"I actually wanted to learn more and we just don't have a teacher now, so it's just like we're sitting in class doing nothing," she said.

Taylor's mother, who is head of the Parent-Teacher Organization at the school says her daughter's class is one of more of a dozen classes at the school with substitutes in charge.

"We love our school and we want to make sure that our students have the best education that they can possibly have and we feel that right now, we are in need of permanent teachers," says her mother, Twyonia Cooper.

"It's not like we're bad schools or anything; it's just that we want somebody there to teach us," said high school senior, Tiarra Sanders.

Students say foreign language is a course required for graduation.

Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed brought the problem up at Monday night's city council meeting.

He says substitute teachers are being used at other schools as well.

"We're not saying that the substitute teachers aren't good and they are not doing their job, but you know the situation with substitute teachers, they come and go. One day they can come into a classroom; the next day they may not be in that classroom and that's not fair to the students and that's not fair to the parents and that's not fair to us," Reed said.

Reed says he wants Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon to explain why there are still subs in many classrooms, especially after voters passed a levy for more funding last year.

In a statement, Gordon said, "This is the first time in 15 years that CMSD has done any significant hiring, and the process has been further influenced by the resignation and retirement of 51 additional employees since the start of the school year. The process has been further influenced by our commitment to staffing schools in the most thoughtful and thorough way and by our conscious effort to keep our promise to reduce class sizes.”

Gordon said those factors increased the number of teachers the district needed to hire this year—in total, 253 new teachers.

"You would think almost a year later after the levy was passed, that everything that was needed at John Adams as an investment school would be there," said Reed.

"We just need teachers to come in and teach them, give the kids a fighting chance," said Cooper.

"I just want a teacher. That's all I want," said Sanders.

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