A high school is eliminating the need for substitute teachers with flexible learning.
In Minnesota, Chanhassen High School and Farmington High School are starting a practice of having students learn independently rather than hire substitute teachers. Administrators call the approach “flexible learning” and say that it teaches personal responsibility to students as well as saving the district many thousands of dollars.
The two schools are the first in the state to eliminate substitute teachers in favor of students working independently with technology in a common space with supervision by staff.
“Arbitrarily getting a babysitter just because that’s what we have always done makes no sense whatsoever,” said Tim Dorway, Chanhassen High School principal. The school has approximately 100 teachers, and 6 or 7 of them could be absent on any given day.
Some teachers prefer to have substitutes, and many parents remain unconvinced that students can work independently in a teacher’s absence.
“I think when families send their kids to public schools, the reason they’re doing that vs. online schools is they want their children to have that face-to-face interaction with licensed teachers,” said Katie Anderson, a substitute teacher.