Center for Educator Effectiveness

Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA)
and Senate Bill 7

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The Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) (Senate Bill 315; Public Act 96-0861) was passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor in January 2010. In summary, PERA requires, among other things, that:

  • Upon the implementation date applicable to a school district or other covered entity, performance evaluations of the principals/assistant principals and teachers of that school district or other covered entity must include data and indicators of student growth as a “significant factor”. 
  • By September 1, 2012, principals, assistant principals, teachers in contractual continued service (i.e., tenured teachers) and probationary teachers (i.e., nontenured teachers) be evaluated using a four rating category system (Excellent, Proficient, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory).
  • Anyone undertaking an evaluation after September 1, 2012 must first complete a pre-qualification program provided or approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

PERA established the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) comprised of teachers, principals, superintendents and other interested stakeholders to advise ISBE on the development and implementation of improved performance evaluation systems and supports.  The PEAC has been meeting monthly in Bloomington, Illinois and will continue to do so through 2017.  The PEAC web page, which includes a substantial amount of helpful information, can be found at:  Recently, the PEAC has provided ISBE with recommendations for minimum standards for principal/assistant principal and teacher evaluations as well as “model” principal/assistant principal and teacher evaluations.  At its November 19, 2011 meeting, and based on the recommendations of the PEAC, the ISBE approved administrative rules to be published for public comment (the “PERA Administrative Rules”).  ISBE expects that the PERA Administrative Rules would take effect, with any revisions based on public comment, around February or March of 2011.

Meanwhile, from late 2010 through April 2011, education stakeholders negotiated an education reform bill that stemmed in part from PERA.  The bill was Senate Bill 7 and was signed into law by the Governor on June 13, 2011.  Senate Bill 7 addresses, among other things:

  • A standard upon which the State Superintendent may initiate certificate/license action against an educator for incompetency;
  • Requirements for the filling of new and vacant positions;
  • Acquisition of tenure;
  • Reductions in force/layoffs and recall rights;
  • The system for the dismissal of tenured teachers;
  • Required school board member training; and,
  • Processes related to collective bargaining and the right to strike.

This ISBE Nonregulatory Guidance document addresses questions that ISBE has received regarding various provisions of PERA and Senate Bill 7 (P.A. 97-8, effective June 13, 2011) (a trailer bill making limited changes to Senate Bill 7 was signed that same day, P.A. 97-7).  This Nonregulatory Guidance:  (a) does not contain all of the information you will need to comply with these laws and any related administrative rules, but is intended to allay confusion and differing interpretations in the field  (b) provides ISBE’s interpretation of various statutory provisions and does not impose any requirements beyond those included in any applicable laws and regulations; and (c) does not create or confer any rights for or on any person.

For additional information about PERA or Senate Bill 7, please contact the Office of the General Counsel, Illinois State Board of Education, 100 North 1st Street, Springfield, Illinois 62777. Telephone: (217) 782-8535.

If you are interested in commenting on this guidance, please email your comments to ISBE will continue to review this Nonregulatory Guidance and may publish clarifications or modifications of specific sections when appropriate.  The Nonregulatory Guidance and any updates to this Nonregulatory Guidance will be made available on ISBE’s web site.