State Board of Education approves emergency amendment for path to replacement certification
The State Board of Education (Council of State) authorized the Department of Primary and Secondary Education (DESE) to request the Secretary of State and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to authorize the new amendment of the substitute teacher certification process (5 CSR 20-400.220) to come into effect in early November instead of 31 December 2021. The State Council determined that the emergency change was necessary due to the severe shortage of substitute teachers, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the more severe Delta variant of the virus.
“The sooner this new path to certification can be made available to potential substitute teachers, the better,” said Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven. “When schools cannot find substitute teachers, other full-time teachers often have to replace and devote valuable and much-needed time to preparing teaching materials, grading student work and working with their teachers. colleagues, which forces these teachers to perform these tasks in their personal time.
DESE tabled a proposal for a similar amendment to this rule in 2020. The Council of State decided to withdraw this amendment to examine the effectiveness of online training for substitute teachers. Based on the initial success of the program and the positive feedback from school leaders and other stakeholders, the State Council voted in favor of the current proposed amendment and the subsequent emergency amendment, with modifications based on DESE review of the program.
Currently, those seeking a replacement certificate must complete 60 semester hours or more of college-level credits with a university-degree-granting institution recognized by DESE and accredited at the regional level. The new amendment will allow individuals to take a 20-hour DESE-approved online course instead of the 60-hour semester. The online training covers topics such as professionalism, respect for diversity, student engagement, fundamental classroom management techniques, basic teaching strategies, support for students with special needs and working with young people at risk.
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