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Study Looks at Quality of Substitute Teachers, Reveals Inconsistency

Study Looks at Quality of Substitute Teachers, Reveals Inconsistency

Because more and more teachers are being required to be absent from class due to various professional development training sessions—related to getting up to speed with subjects such as Common Core, technology integration and reading evals—substitute teachers are in increasingly high demand. As a result, the National Center on Teacher Quality will be releasing a study that investigates the quality of the substitute teachers that many districts are relying on to take the helm in classrooms across the country.

A preview of the study, which analyzed polices from 118 schools in all 50 states, has revealed some concerning results, according to UTSanDiego.com.

"A study to be released Tuesday shows that substitute teacher hiring policies — covering education and licensing requirements, salary and benefits — vary greatly. In fact, most districts in the study don’t even appear to require college degrees of their substitutes," the article said.

Out of the districts studied, only 10 require substitute teachers to carry a full teaching license, while 43 require a substitute teaching license and 53 require no license at all.

One of the  sc10hools that require substitutes to have full teaching licenses, San Diego Unified District, will be changing its policy to reflect the growing needs for substitute teachers and will now "hire substitutes who hold a bachelor’s degree and have passed the California Basic Educational Skills Test with an emergency substitute teaching permit," the article said.

While Geoffrey Smith, the founding director of the Substitute Teaching Institute at Utah State University, does not necessarily think substitute teachers should have to be fully certified to take over classrooms in teacher absences, he does think more emphasis needs to be placed on training.

“'They need to know how to pick up a lesson plan and implement it ... [t]hey don’t need to necessarily know all the ins and outs,'" Smith said, according to the article.

In addition to a need for training, the study also points to a need for a better evaluation process. Two thirds of the districts studied did not have a system for evaluating substitute teachers, meaning only 26 schools required an evaluation and eight of those only required it "on long-term assignments. An additional 10 make the evaluations optional," the article said.

Read the full article here and answer our poll below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/01/2015

Should a license be required of substitute teachers?

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