– Legislation authored by Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland) that would address the state’s substitute teacher crisis was approved by the General Assembly Wednesday and is headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Gleim’s bill, which has the support of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, is designed to help ease a current shortage of substitute teachers who work on a day-by-day basis by providing more flexibility to school entities. Under House Bill 412, someone holding a state-issued, day-to-day substitute permit could serve in more than one assignment for up to 20 days instead of just one assignment.
“The declining number of teaching certificates issued in Pennsylvania, plus the strain of bringing back students who have been out of physical classrooms for 18 months, has exacerbated the substitute crisis throughout the state,” Gleim said. Schools have not been able to find enough substitutes to cover a day of classes for some time now and it continues to get worse.”
House Bill 412
would address this shortage by allowing certain substitute teachers to work longer periods. It would also allow someone with an inactive certification to be employed as a substitute for up to 180 days during a school year instead of the current law of up to 90 days.
Other provisions of House Bill 412 provide:
More flexibility to hire retires on a temporary basis by allowing school to call them regardless of whether they called their non-annuitant list first
The ability of prospective teachers to aid in the crisis by uncapping the number of days they can sub and requiring institutions of higher education to adopt a policy regarding their teacher students’ (prospective educators) ability to sub while they are enrolled and prevents an institution from prohibiting a prospective educator from subbing; this will also provide them with experience and financial compensation
A day-to-day classroom monitor permit program for anyone with 60 credits or equivalent experience to fill in for a teacher. There are reporting requirements and this program expires on June 30, 2023.