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KSDE Proposes Changes to Substitute Licenses

The state education agency has proposed shelving a temporary relaxing of substitute teacher requirements but implementing new requirements that will still provide a wider path to become a substitute teacher.

In January, facing a severe substitute teacher shortage due to COVID absences of teachers, the State Board of Education allowed those 18 or older with a high school diploma to apply for a Temporary Emergency Authorized License. Previously, a person had to have 60 semester college credit hours to apply for a substitute teacher license.

That emergency move brought some criticism, but many districts said relaxing the requirements enabled them to better operate their schools during the substitute teacher shortage.

The Kansas State Department of Education conducted a survey of the state’s 286 districts, and of the 163 responses, 82 percent said they favored the temporary setup. There were 906 Temporary Emergency Authorized Licenses (TEAL) awarded and of those 14 percent were under 21 and one was 18. Garden City USD 457 was the largest user of the TEAL program with 72 licenses.

But the temporary authorization is set to expire June 1. In its place, KSDE is proposing to grant substitute licenses if the applicant has either a bachelor’s degree, or 60 hours of college credit, or completes an online training module component.

This training would include setting expectation and classroom management strategies, delivery of instruction and checking for understanding, meeting the social and emotional needs of students and strategies to adjust instruction and the classroom environment.

The State Board of Education will consider the proposal in June.