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.
Substitute Teacher License(s):
Nebraska offers two substitute licenses. The State Substitute Teaching Certificate requires a bachelor's degree and coursework for completion of a teacher preparation program. The Local Substitute Teaching Certificate requires 60 semester credit hours of coursework and at least one course in professional education.
Length of Assignment: Nebraska permits holders of the State Substitute Teaching Certificate to teach up to 90 days in same assignment, and allows holders of the Local Substitute Teaching certificate to teach up to 45 days per school year and only in the requesting school system. It does not specify whether the 45 days can be in the same classroom assignment.
Evaluation of Long-term Substitutes: Nebraska has no requirements for the evaluation of any of its substitute teachers.
92 NAC 21.005.24
Distinguish requirements for short-term and long-term substitutes.
Nebraska should 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 long-term substitute requirements should be rigorous (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.
Nebraska 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. Nebraska'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.
Nebraska 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. Nebraska 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.
Nebraska 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.