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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 24, 2016 10:09 AM
From: Senator Lloyd K. Smucker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Relieving the Substitute Teacher Shortage

I will soon be introducing legislation aimed at increasing the pool of substitute teachers for school districts faced with a growing shortage.

A joint Senate and House Education Committee hearing, held in October of 2015, highlighted a growing scarcity of substitute teachers in the Commonwealth, which is an offshoot of a growing shortage of teachers nationwide. Some school districts have been reporting “fill” rates of only 70 percent on any given day, and some areas have opted to outsource their substitutes or have been left with no choice but to request frequent “emergency” permits for day-to-day substitutes.

Among the solutions offered by educators at the October hearing was to tap into the pool of future teachers now studying in our colleges and universities. Allowing these students to serve as substitute teachers will give them valuable experience and early exposure to the classroom environment, while also providing a readily available, cost-effective and high-quality pool of teachers for school districts.

Specifically, my legislation would allow college students who have completed 60 credit hours and who are enrolled in a teacher preparation program at a four-year college in Pennsylvania to substitute for a limited number of days in any school district in the Commonwealth.

For every year after their first year of substituting, college students would be required to obtain additional credits in order to remain a substitute.

I hope you will join me in supporting this important initiative to help alleviate the substitute teacher crisis. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB1312