The state should ensure that substitute teachers are appropriately placed and assessed in the classroom. This goal was new in 2017 and was not graded.
Florida does not offer substitute licenses, but it does maintain minimal education requirements for some substitute teachers. Florida requires that all substitute teachers have a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent; all other requirements for substitute teachers are determined at the district level.
Length of Assignment: The maximum number of days a substitute can teach is determined at the district level.
Evaluation of Long-term Substitutes: In terms of evaluation of long-term substitutes, Florida state policy directs districts to "develop performance appraisal measures for assessing the quality of instruction delivered by substitutes who provide instruction for 30 or more days in a single classroom placement."
Require substitute teachers to have a substitute license.
Florida should require all substitute teachers to obtain a substitute teaching license. Licenses issued by the state allow for uniform minimum requirements so that all districts have access to a similarly qualified substitute teaching pool.
Further distinguish requirements for short-term and long-term substitutes.
Florida should further distinguish between requirements for short-term and long-term substitutes so that it can ensure that its requirements are appropriate for the needs of these teachers. The state's requirement that substitutes who teach for more than 30 days in a single classroom placement be evaluated is a strong first step in establishing distinct requirements for short- and long-term substitutes.
Florida should further articulate rigorous long-term substitute requirements (e.g., that all long-term substitutes have current or expired licenses) to help ensure that teachers who are spending extended periods of time with students are prepared to do so.
Limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom.
Florida should limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom without completing additional requirements or obtaining a long-term substitute license. The maximum number of days should be no more than 10 percent of the length of the school year. Florida's policy does not limit the number of consecutive days a substitute may teach in the same classroom, which may be detrimental to instructional quality and daily productivity
Florida recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. However, the analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.
Research finds that teacher absences negatively affect student achievement and growth. While some of this is attributable to the disruption of regular classroom practices and instruction, it may also be attributable to substitute teacher quality. The gap in instructional quality and daily productivity when a regular teacher is replaced by a substitute teacher is significant. However, absences covered by substitutes licensed by the state are not as detrimental to student achievement as those covered by non-licensed substitutes. Some research hypothesizes that the low-skill level and mobility of substitute teachers may contribute to the reduction in instructional focus and quality and that even when substitute teachers are good instructors, they may be unable to effectively implement a teacher of record's long-term instructional strategies. Parents, teachers, principals, and students have concerns about substitute teachers' quality and qualifications. States should maintain rigorous standards for substitute teacher quality and accountability for all substitutes, but especially for long-term substitutes who are expected to stand in for teachers for long stretches of time.