Starting early next year, substitute teachers who do not have college degrees will no longer be allowed to work in Hawaii's public schools, a move that education officials said is aimed at complying with federal requirements.
A Department of Education spokeswoman said there are about 350 substitute teachers working statewide who do not have bachelor's degrees.
They were notified in letters last May and November that beginning January 4, the state will no longer hire substitutes who don't have college degrees.
That's bad news for a Kapaa, Kauai woman who's been a substitute in Kauai public schools for 18 years.
"In those days, there were no requirements. So I did it in the two high schools and the one middle school," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. "Now I'm almost 65 years old. It would have been a nice job to have along with my social security. It's a job that I can do and it's not too physically strenuous. Now I'm going to have to get another job and probably work full time to make the money I made in three or four days as a sub."
The woman said she and other ?class one? substitutes who don't have college degrees are paid about $135 a day. Substitutes with bachelor?s degrees are paid a little more, roughly $150 daily.
The state will allow some ?class one? subs to keep working, but only if they submit a plan that shows they'll get a college degree by January of 2015.
"I couldn't possibly do it. I don't have the money. How could I go to school, I wouldn't be able to work," the woman said.
Department of Education spokeswoman Sandra Goya said the state is complying with federal "No Child Left Behind" requirements that teachers should be highly qualified.
But the soon-to-be out-of-work Kauai substitute teacher wishes the DOE would make an exception for those who work with special education students.
"I love working in the special ed department. I don't think you need a bachelor's degree to work with those kids. You just need to have an open heart and a friendly attitude and I love those kids," she said.
The substitute teacher said she is searching for work as an education assistant at private and public schools, positions that pay less than the substitute teaching positions.