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.
Maine offers four substitute licenses: substitutes who are certified within the area they are teaching, substitutes who are certified outside the area they are teaching, individuals with two or more years of college, and high school graduates.
Length of Assignment: A substitute who is licensed in the area being taught has no limit on the number of consecutive days in the same assignment. A substitute with a license outside of the area being taught can teach no more than 90 days in any one assignment. Substitutes with two or more years of college can teach for no more than 60 consecutive days in one assignment. Substitutes with a high school diploma or equivalent can teach no more than 10 days in any one assignment.
Evaluation of Long-Term Substitutes: Maine has no requirements for the evaluation of any of its substitute teachers. Maine state policy is unclear whether certified teachers acting as substitutes are subject to evaluation under the state's evaluation requirements.
Rule 05-071 Chapter 115 Part I Section 12
Limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom.
Maine 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. Maine's policy of allowing substitute teachers to teach 60 consecutive days in the same classroom may be detrimental to instructional quality and daily productivity.
Require long-term substitute teachers to be evaluated.
Maine should maintain standards for substitute teacher quality and accountability for all substitutes, but especially for long-term substitutes who are expected to stand in for licensed teachers for extended periods of time. Maine can help ensure that substitute teachers are held to high standards and have access to the supports necessary to improve their practice by requiring evaluations— which it may find appropriate to modify from its standard, state-required teacher evaluations— of long-term substitutes.
Maine recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.