SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on Wednesday approved specific recommendations to expand and diversify the state’s highly qualified teacher workforce. The recommendations remove barriers and create new avenues of entry into the profession, while maintaining high standards.
The recommendations stem from a year of study involving focus groups, data analysis, and a review of state and national research. The year of study culminated in the Teach Illinois report released on Sept. 7. ISBE received more than 150 public comments on the report over a three-week period and took each comment into consideration in developing the agency’s next steps and legislative recommendations.
“Tremendous commitment has gone into the Teach Illinois project over the last year,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We now have a comprehensive set of actions that consider teacher recruitment, educator preparation, and licensure requirements. I look forward to putting infrastructure and energy behind what started as ideas. Now the next round of partnership and dialogue begins.”
ISBE recommended specific legislative changes to the Illinois School Code to:
- Create three job-embedded routes to licensure for paraprofessionals, substitutes, transitional bilingual educators, and career changers.
- Remove the requirement of a test of basic skills for individuals already possessing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in order to receive initial licensure or endorsements on licenses.
- Expand mentoring supports to experienced teachers and principals.
The State Board also approved a set of actions for the agency to take in collaboration with the appropriate stakeholders, including:
- Retain the use of the ACT or SAT and discontinue use of the Test of Academic Proficiency as tests of basic skills.
- Study the relationship between a test of basic skills and effectiveness in teaching.
- Develop criteria for a portfolio assessment that may be used in place of a test of basic skills.
- Develop a multi-step process for approving teacher preparation programs that includes collecting and reviewing program data.
- Identify a college and career pathway endorsement in education that high school students can earn.
- Release grants for teacher leadership and for innovative approaches to teacher preparation fieldwork.
- Allow individuals to receive subsequent endorsements on a professional educator license after either 18 course hours or successful completion of the applicable content test.
- Develop criteria for district-based programs leading to the bilingual endorsement.
- Clarify in administrative rules that teacher candidates may be compensated during student teaching.
- Develop standards and research-based guidance for teacher induction and mentoring.
ISBE will continue to engage lawmakers and stakeholders in the development and implementation of this work. View the full recommendations, statutory references, and timelines at www.isbe.net/teachillinois