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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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News

For Immediate Release
November 3, 2004

New State Board of Education reaches
major milestone in eliminating teacher certification backlog
Milestone achieved to help teachers and schools

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois State Board of Education announced today that it has achieved a major milestone in eliminating the backlog of more than 7,500 teacher certificate applications in Illinois. Work over the last four weeks has entirely eliminated the 15-month backlog of teacher certification applications for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and reduced the remainder of the state’s backlog from 15 months to 12 months. Unlike other districts, the Illinois State Board of Education serves CPS as its Regional Office of Education. Governor Rod Blagojevich made clearing the teacher certification backlog a top priority for the new State Board of Education when he appointed seven new members in September.

“These are the kind of results we need to see at the Illinois State Board of Education,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “This is an important first step in fixing a problem that teachers and schools have faced for more than a year.”

Interim State Superintendent Randy Dunn quickly tackled the state’s certification backlog after taking the lead at the agency last month. He immediately redirected agency resources and support to certification staff.

“We’re well on the way to doing away with a serious problem,” said Interim Superintendent Randy Dunn. “Our staff members rolled up their sleeves to tackle a bad situation that had been around for a long time. With good progress already achieved, we’re digging in to finish the task.”

“The CTU is grateful to the Interim Superintendent and the Board of Education for providing the resources to help the staff eliminate the backlog,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart. “We encourage our members to improve themselves through additional qualifications and as a result, those we serve, the children, ultimately benefit.”

Gov. Blagojevich called for clearing the certification backlog during his 2004 State of the State Address when he announced the critical need for major restructuring at the State Board of Education. In September, the Governor signed sweeping education reform legislation and appointed seven new members to the State Board of Education. The Governor tasked the new board with cutting bureaucracy and helping local schools and teachers.

Under the leadership of Board Chairman Jesse Ruiz and Interim Superintendent Dunn, the State Board began developing improved methods for helping schools ensure that properly certified teachers are in Illinois classrooms. By using more technology and improved procedures and focusing on helping teachers get their credentials, the Board expects backlogs to become a problem of the past.

Teachers with applications pending can check the status of their applications at the Online Teacher Information System (OTIS), www.isbe.net/otis/.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777