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.
Michigan offers four different substitute teaching licenses. The Daily permit and the Full-year Basic permit require 90 semester hours of credit, and the Full-year Basic also requires an academic major or a passing score on the applicable content test in the subject area if teaching in a core content area. The Full-year Shortage permit requires a professional or advanced professional education certificate, and if teaching in a core content area, a major or a passing score on a content test in the subject area to be taught. The Expert daily permit requires five years of work experience in the area of the specialization to be taught.
Length of Assignment: Michigan permits holders of a Daily permit to teach for no more than 90 days in one assignment. Persons teaching with the Basic, Shortage, or Expert permit do not have a limit specified for the number of consecutive days they can teach in the same assignment.
Evaluation of Long-term substitutes: The Full-year Basic, Shortage, and Expert daily permits can be renewed if the teacher has received "Effective or highly effective ratings in the assigned area."
Limit the number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can teach in the same classroom.
Michigan 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. Michigan's policy of allowing substitute teachers to teach 90 consecutive days in the same classroom may be detrimental to instructional quality and daily productivity.
Require long-term substitute teachers to be evaluated.
Michigan 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. Michigan 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.
Michigan 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.