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Long Island Educators Sound The Alarm: Substitute Teachers In Short Supply

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- There is a pressing need for substitute teachers, especially on Long Island.

District administrators are trying a variety of tactics to bring in subs, including recruiting on college campuses, CBS2's Jennfer McLogan reported Monday.

On certain days there can be a need for 1,000 substitute teachers on Long Island.

A fraction are heeding the call.

"We used to have a plethora of people in the bullpen. We don't have it anymore," Mineola Schools Superintendent Michael Nagler said.

substitute teachers
Educators on Long Island are working with Adelphi University to help buck a current trend by creating a bigger pool of teachers. (Photo: CBS2)

Nagler, who is also the president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, blames the shallow pool of applicants on fewer young people choosing the profession, low unemployment, competition from city/out-of-state schools and teacher shortage.

"We've seen a radical decline in students pursing teaching as a profession," Nagler said.

According to New York State United Teachers, enrollment in teacher education programs has dropped 47 percent in six years.

CBS2's McLogan spoke to some college students on Monday and they cited reasons why they probably won't pursue teaching as a career, including salary, demands of the profession and a lack of appreciation teachers sometimes receive.

Jackie Jahelka recently graduated from Adelphi. The university is partnering with the Mineola School District under a residency program.

"I always wanted to be a teacher and I didn't realize my passion wasn't shared by as many people as I thought," Jahelka said.

A residency allows a fifth-year education major to student teach four days a week, sub the fifth day and get paid.

"I was a student teacher in the residency program here in Mineola and I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a permanent sub," Jahelka said.

Job fairs are being held at Adelphi's School of Education. School districts have promised increased substitute pay -- which now ranges from $90 to $130 per day.

"Becoming a teacher is a noble profession. It changes nations. It changes families. It changes people," said Dr. Anne Mungai, Adelphi's interim dean of education.

Such cheerleading paid off for Jahelka.

Entry level teaching positions on Long Island pay between $55,000 and $75,000 a year.

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