Selma City School Board addresses teacher shortage

Published 9:41 pm Friday, April 8, 2016

Members of the Selma City School Board have been putting their heads together to see what can be done to fix a teacher shortage in the system.

The issue is one that board member Brenda Randolph-Obomanu is concerned about. She expressed her thoughts at a meeting Thursday.

“One thing that we are going to have to do is stop being so dependent on substitutes. We’ve had so many students at Selma High and R.B. Hudson and I’m embarrassed as a board member that we let our children be taught by substitutes for almost a whole year,” Randolph-Obomanu said. “We have to do some things to motivate our teachers to stay.

She said she believes lack of teachers and too many substitutes affect students’ ability to learn.

Selma City Schools System Superintendent Angela Mangum thinks the issue stems from a lack of college graduates earning degrees in these subjects.

“Universities are not graduating math, science and special education teachers at the rate at which they are needed. It’s not only an issue in Selma city schools,” Mangum said.

She said the solution can be solved through recruitment and includes incentives.

School board president Henry Hicks agrees with Mangum and said the reality is that Selma City Schools is not the only system struggling to keep teacher.

“I’ve talked to people across the state and teachers are leaving. The teachers in this system can come and give a five day notice and leave. When people get offered better jobs or money, they are going to leave,” Hicks said.

The system has also put a mentoring program in place to help new teachers. It helps teachers make adjustments and work out difficulties in their first years. The program also offers development training and allows new teachers to shadow seasoned ones.