Beginning next school year, Wake County substitute teachers must have high school diploma
Beginning next school year, anyone hired as a substitute teacher in the Wake County Public School System must have a high school diploma. The school district previously required a diploma but removed the qualification in recent years after rewriting the job description.Posted — Updated
"We don’t know if that removal was intentional or an oversight," said Wake schools' spokeswoman Lisa Luten. "Our HR department made the change to include the requirement back into the job description."
"Current subs without a diploma will be grandfathered in," Luten added. "We don’t have a number of how many we have without a high school diploma, but we don’t think it’s many."
Not requiring a diploma "would be very, very rare," she said. "In most cases there's at least a requirement for a high school diploma or a GED."
"We've been collecting this information for so long," Nittler said. "It's not necessarily surprising to us, but I think it's really surprising to a lot of people that not all school districts require a substitute teacher to have a bachelor's degree."
"While the most common district policy is not to require any type of certification or license to become a substitute teacher, about a third do require some type of license from the state," the study found. "In fact, five require substitute teachers to have the same teaching license as any teacher (Cherry Creek School District (CO), Kanawha County Schools (WV), San Diego Unified School District, Portland Public Schools (OR), and Seattle Public Schools). The remaining districts that require a license have a separate substitute license, the requirements of which vary greatly from state to state and district to district."
To sub in Wake County public schools, candidates are required to complete a six- to seven-hour Substitute Effective Teacher Training course online or a 20-hour Effective Teacher Training course at a local community college. They must also attend a half-day orientation at district headquarters and undergo a background and reference check.
Although the state doesn't have any requirements for subs, some education leaders say they would be open to it.
"I think a baseline regulation by the state would be good," said Jason Kennedy, Wake County schools' recruitment director. "That's something that all of us can kind of go by to make sure and ensure that we're hiring the best people possible to put in front of our our students."
The North Carolina Association of Educators would also likely support state regulations for subs, according to President Mark Jewell, but he understands why districts have varying rules.
"It’s very hard to get substitute teachers," he said. "When you can’t fill classrooms now with certified teachers, let alone with substitutes, it’s supply and demand."
"I think we would want to see educators, someone with a teaching license and certainly a college degree to be able to be in the classroom," Jewell added. "But preferably somebody with a teaching license."
Wake County's public school system has 6,501 registered subs, but not all of them are currently working. Some are teachers or other school employees who sub during their breaks. Of the total subs, 3,414 – or 53 percent – have a teaching license, while 3,087 – or 47 percent – are not certified teachers. It’s unknown how many do not have a high school diploma, because WCPSS does not track that information.
Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.