Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Teaching jobs
not all that
readily available

Many are applying, but 300 of
the 400 vacancies will not
go to unlicensed teachers

By Treena Shapiro

The hundreds of people who answered the call yesterday to fill the state's teaching vacancies may be disappointed to learn that the jobs are not as readily available as it appeared.

By 10 a.m. yesterday, Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen said they had received 200 to 300 calls. They stopped counting at that point, but the phone kept ringing, he said.

But Knudsen said that about 300 of the more than 400 vacancies would not be filled by unlicensed teachers. About half are special education positions, which require certification. Another 100 positions are already being processed.

The 100 or so remaining positions are those that are typically the hardest to fill: math and science classes, and positions in remote areas such as Oahu's Leeward coast, the Big Island and Lanai, Molokai and Hana in the Maui district.

Public schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu and other community leaders brought attention to a teacher shortage crisis during a press conference Monday. LeMahieu said that people with bachelor's degrees did not need teaching credentials to qualify as long as they made the commitment to obtain a teaching license within two years.

"Come to us, and they will be hired and placed in a very short order," he had said.

"It's not that open," Knudsen said. "The possibilities are limited."

Those who put in applications yesterday should not expect an immediate callback, he said.

Positions will be filled throughout the year, with many classes taught in the meantime by substitute teachers on a long-term basis. Many are already teacher trained and are often former full-time teachers.

Knudsen said that the interest generated by the press conference has been positive, in that the department will be able to replenish its applicant pool.

Those who cannot get through to the DOE's personnel line at 583-3420 can visit on the Internet to get information and download an application.

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