Senate Approves Sen. Kissel’s Substitute Teachers Bill [Hartford Courant]

April 27, 2011

Substitute Teachers: Bill Eases Requirements
Senate OKs Measure Allowing Schools To Waive Need For A Bachelor’s Degree

Hartford Courant
Story as it appeared in the Hartford Courant on April 27, 2011

The state Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would waive a requirement for substitute teachers to have a bachelor’s degree.

The bill, which now heads to the House floor, would overturn new legislation that took effect last July requiring subs to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Specifically, the bill would allow the state Education Commissioner to waive the requirement at the request of a school superintendent. The legislature’s education committee approved the bill last month.

The latest bill was proposed by two legislators who said the bachelor’s requirement had locked out some of their district’s stable of long-time subs, some of whom hold associate’s degrees.

“In many cases, those substitute teachers were very much missed because they lived locally, knew the students and knew the school routines,” said Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, a co-sponsor of the bill.

In addition, he said, many small towns have difficulty finding subs and this would give school districts more latitude.
Both of the state’s teachers’ unions have testified against the bill, saying it would lower standards. One union, the Connecticut Education Association, said the shortage of substitute teachers is not caused by higher educational requirements, but by low pay. On top of that, anyone on a substitute teacher list is disqualified from unemployment compensation, the union said.

A better solution, the CEA said, would be to raise daily pay for subs with bachelor’s degrees and exempt them from the unemployment disqualification.