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Education: Let student teachers work as substitutes

Higher education officials in West Virginia have approved a plan whereby some public college students working toward degrees in education will be able to get credit for required student teaching by serving as substitutes in West Virginia schools.

Some counties are having trouble staffing schools because most of the people on their substitute teacher lists are older men and women, often retired educators, who are at higher risk for COVID-19. They are understandably reluctant to put themselves in contact with classrooms full of students.

But substitutes are a necessity simply to keep some schools open.

State officials have agreed to a framework by which some college students can serve as substitutes. Officials and professors at the individual colleges and universities should follow through by removing any potential obstacles to such service, including coursework the student teachers may miss while substituting. Now is not the time for unnecessary academic bureaucracy. Those student teachers will learn far more about how to educate children if they have more real-life experience at this stage, anyway.

West Virginians, and our children, need help from the teachers-in-training now.

It ought to be a no-brainer to ensure that is viewed as a priority.

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