2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy
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 License(s): Pennsylvania offers two types of substitute licenses: a Long-Term and a Day-to-Day substitute license. The Long-Term license requires the holder to be enrolled "in a state-approved teacher certification program in the subject area(s) and complete the required number of credits." The Day-to-Day license requires a bachelor's degree.
The state also offers a Substitute Permit for Prospective Teachers. This is for candidates enrolled in teacher preparation programs who have completed more than 60 hours of coursework but are not yet certified.
Length of Assignment: Persons with a Day-to-Day substitute license may not exceed 20 consecutive days in the same teaching assignment. A long-term substitute may teach more than 20 consecutive days in the same assignment. The holder of a Substitute Permit for Prospective Teachers can teach up to 10 consecutive days in the same assignment but can teach no more than 20 days per year total.
Evaluation of Long-Term Substitutes: Pennsylvania has no requirements for the evaluation of any of its substitute teachers.
Certification Staffing Policy Guidance (CSPG) #13 Pennsylvania School Code Section 1201.1.
Require long-term substitute teachers to be evaluated.
Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania 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.
Pennsylvania stated neither Act 82 of 2012, which established Pennsylvania's Educator Effectiveness system, nor Chapter 19 relating to the evaluation tool for
classroom teachers preclude local districts from
evaluating long-term substitutes. A district's collective bargaining
agreement or personnel handbook may require all long-term substitutes to
be evaluated under Pennsylvania local control requirements.
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.