Monday, April 11, 2016

Potentially Exploitative U.S. Substitute Teacher Labor Issues

Potentially Exploitative U.S. Labor Issues And Ways To Overcome Them

Kelly Services is one of a few companies that hires and manages substitute teachers.  However, what was found when researching this for substitute teachers is the following potentially exploitative labor issues:

Starting with Massachusetts - Factors - State Minimum Wage is higher than the Federal $7.25 per hour. Which means besides Massachusetts - several states are underpaying substitute teachers; simply based on state minimum wages. 

An associate's degree + is only paying $60 a day for up to an 8 hour day, due to an alleged law in Massachusetts that says they do not have to pay subs the same minimum wage per hour that they pay the rest of the state.  A law, three (3) employees. at Kelly Services stated exists; but for the fact that none of them could name the law. I also  could not find such a law. If such a law exists, it can only be deemed antiquated.

Those who hold an Associates or Bachelor's Degree are paid a wide variable in Massachusetts ranging from $50 to100+ a day. In other areas of the country that rate is as low as $40 per day per the National Educational Association
Federal Minimum Wage FMW

Albeit, some school districts across the country only require a H.S. diploma or G.E.D. the pay rate does not meet the Federal Standard in a surprising amount of districts nationwide.

The FMW came about to protect those who did not pursue additional education after high school and are in need of protection, it is currently $7.25 per hour across the United States.  The current rate of pay to subs with an associate's degree is as low $50 in Mass. if at 8 hours it is just $8 under the Federal Law and if at the average 7 hour day it is still missing federal guidelines by .75 cents.

As such, a lawsuit could be potentially be implemented against all school departments in Massachusetts and/or other states that pay less than the State's Minimum Wage Law. Massachusetts minimum wage is $10.00 per hour which means subs should be paid minimally 70-80 per day. 

When there is an increase by State Law over Federal Law it must be equally applied to all of it's working citizens.  States can give you more protection that what the federal laws grant; but never less than.  Moreover, they must not discriminate against any one group of it's citizens. 

Infact, the research clearly articulates that other cities Nationwide are also at risk; because they are not paying their state minimum per hour or even the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. By not doing so they are discriminating against those subbing after retirement and/or parents who are working for a 2nd income while their children are in school and those who are pursuing degrees or those seeking teaching jobs who are subbing.  

Even though access to benefits is available for those who work 2 days a week under Kelly Services it woefully cuts down on their take home pay.  A very bad message for students and potential future Teachers. 

Employment Sites like Indeed show that the Average Substitute Teacher salaries for job postings nationwide are 53% lower than average salaries for all job postings nationwide.

What a School Board Should Consider in the Best Interests of Its Students & Budget

There are many people interested in subbing.  There are businesses that would encourage their employees to sub at the schools once a week or a couple of times a month as a service to their communities; by allowing employees to use sick time or vacation/PD days; these people's incentive would be a deceit pay rate for the day and the ability to use their time off.  After all, Fortune Magazine shows that American's do not actually use their time off leaving "429 million paid days of vacation on the table" every year as reported in July of 2015.

H.S./G.E.D. over an Associate Degrees everyday for substitute teachers. Substitutes are not there to babysit, but in fact to implement a Teacher's lesson plan.  Yes, sure a Bachelor's Degree is great but without any public relations experience choosing them over someone with an Associates & Public Relations skills who potentially could go back to school to become a teacher as described below is missing the point and a valuable resource. 

Staffing sources like Kelly Services and others are blocking these educated, world knowledge based professionals from participating in the school system by requiring professionals to work at least two days a week, others require three days a week.  This in and of itself leaves School systems who do not pay over a $100 a day to their substitutes to be open to constant understaffing. Most times in areas where Title 1 students need creative, caring adults who can show them there is a chance to do better than where they are now.  That's the American Dream after all. 

Lessons to Learn from other School Districts 


Having a central subline, one where approved subs can call in for assignments and allowing schools to fill their subbing needs by giving them access to their approved sub lists.This could be as simple as using people in HR to fill assignments in the morning between 6 am and the start of school. 

Grow Your Own Teachers

Amazing School Districts are ones that like Springfield, MA; not only go the extra mile, but give 2nd mile service to their substitutes. 

This is a Title 1 District that pays it's subs starting at $102.57 a day, both associate's and bachelor's start there; needless to say they get great people because they pay for it. Moreover, it has made partnerships with area colleges for tuition discounts upto 50% to ensure that they are growing new teachers from their subs. 

Furthermore, they are giving and encouraging their substitutes to take advantage of free Tutorials to become certified teachers and allowing them to attend workshops for teachers.  Moreover, they make them aware of grants and scholarships nationwide that they can apply to defer and/or absolve their student debt by becoming a teacher.  The Teachers Union even helps out with Substitutes. A good investment for both the school district and teachers union.

They further use a program called Smart Times so each sub can put in their demographics of what schools and where they want to cover; choices that come down to the classes they want to cover math, science etc. Ensuring that they go where they will have the most positive impact.  

Children are the future of this country and ensuring their education now, will ensure lower poverty rates in the future and a more remarkable America in the future.  

Lastly, increasing funding to at least pay subs at the state's minimum wage will potentially avoid discrimination lawsuits and ensure great people come through those doors.

Americans for Prosperity says: "Minimum wage laws have the unintended consequence of increasing unemployment and reducing opportunities for young and low-skilled job seekers."

They are wrong. The Evidence in American History Shows that Bread & Rose's both cost money.  A country needs minimum wage laws to protect the young and low-skilled job seeker; from being abused by big industries and/or apparently federally funded school systems.  

It is far better to do the right thing. Because "the man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read." Mark Twain. He also said "20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do." Think it about where we will be in 20 years without inspiring teachers and subs to feed our youth...what will your old age look like?

Children deserve amazing people in their school systems to nourish their minds with dreams beyond their immediate realm and let them know that their own Fairy Tale Access to a happily ever after is indeed within their reach. Let's make that happen.

See You Soon 
Ћ ℋead ℱairy 

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