On Jan 2nd, Raise Your Hand Action sent a letter to Tony Smith, State Superintendent of Schools, and James Meeks, Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education, and to chairs of both the Senate and House education committees regarding ISBE rule changes on teacher licensure.
In October, ISBE put out a set of rules, known as the Teach Illinois program, that would change teacher licensure in Illinois. ISBE says that these rules will reduce the teacher shortage problem in Illinois. In brief, these rules would open up to all non-university providers the opportunity to offer teacher licensing programs. This includes the Bilingual/ESL endorsement, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Physical Education, and Elementary and Secondary Education licenses.
A wide coalition of education organizations are opposed to opening up this professional responsibility to non-qualified, potentially for-profit, out-of-state consulting firms, and school districts without the broad professional expertise to do this.
You can read our letter for the details about our concerns with these rules. They include: the Teach Illinois rules do not adequately address the real causes of the teacher shortage, will potentially exacerbate inequity across the state’s public school system; and raise questions about the outside organizations that will administer these new licensure programs. We conclude our letter by urging that ISBE pursue a more complex and multi-faceted approach to the teacher shortage in Illinois.
Please contact your state representative and state senator to share our letter.