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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Substitute Authorization

Recently, on an Iowa homeschooling list, the subject of "Substitute Authorization" was brought up.

This provision in the state law which was originally introduced to address a statewide shortage in substitute teachers, allows individuals with a baccalaureate degree or Paraeducator Certificate to obtain a "Substitute Authorization" and then to substitute teach on a limited basis for middle-schools and high schools and also in special education classes. The Substitute Authorization is not valid for substituting at the elementary school level.

It is announced on the NICHE website that individuals receiving Substitute Authorization are also allowed to act as Supervising Teachers for purposes of meeting the requirements of Competent Private Instruction.

This was big news to me and since I couldn't recall ever reading anything about this provision in the CPI Handbook I decided to verify their declaration by contacting the homeschool liasion at the Iowa Department of Education.

I quoted to the liaison the exact statement and asked her if their statement was accurate. This is what she answered,

"I hesitate to answer because of possible implications of new legislation from this year's session. Guidance will be forthcoming. The new handbook for 08-09 will be on our website by early June. www.iowa.gov\educate Go to the index on the bottom right and click on H for homeschooling or C for Competent Private Instruction. Thanks for your patience. "

I hope that they will address this subject in the new CPI Handbook. If it remains true, that individuals with Substitute Authorization can serve as Supervising Teachers (for themselves or others) that will be a boon to homeschoolers in Iowa. Still, it does feel as if even this decision can be reversed quite easily by the powers-that-be at the Department of Education so I would caution anyone from making any long-term plans to take advantage of this provision.

You can find out a lot about this "Substitute Authorization" and what is required to obtain it by reading at the State Board of Educational Examiners website here:

http://www.iowa.gov/boee/subrules.html

and here:

http://www.iowa.gov/boee/sub.html

Many of the state's Area Education Agencies (AEA) offer the coursework required to obtain authorization. Here is a list of the AEA's if you want to check the one nearest you. I looked at several of them and was able to find their Substitute Authorization course offerings usually by clicking on links titled, "Professional Development" or "Licensure."

Personally, I'm waiting until the new CPI Handbook comes out before I'll believe that this will continue to be a viable option for homeschoolers.

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