Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 12:32 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 3-14-05
Good afternoon,


Those of you who have known me personally for a number of years are aware that support of the arts in schools is an important issue for me. In fact, I spent a semester in music education, until I realized that I might be doing my future students a favor by switching to another teaching major! Even today, I get great personal fulfillment (and sometimes almost a spiritual rejuvenation) from attending a concert or live theatre or strolling through an art gallery.


Today marks the start of the 23rd Annual Illinois ARTS Education Week which ISBE co-sponsors with the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education. I am pleased to have the opportunity to promote this event as Illinois has been a leader in arts education, becoming one of the first states to develop and adopt learning standards for fine arts (in 1997).


Two items that I randomly heard about in the news last week come to mind as I write this message: First, the National Association for Music Education just announced its National Anthem Project to respond to the recent Harris poll finding that two-thirds of American adults don’t know the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I can’t help but think that the lack of knowledge surrounding this keystone of democratic awareness is due in some part to the diminution of school music programs across the country.


Second, a commentator on National Public Radio shared a statistic I had heard before: In a given year, more people attend arts performances than are present for sports contests. The arts really do touch a large number of individuals throughout their lives, making those lives richer and more meaningful. To quote a ten-year-old listed on the back of the poster we recently sent to schools to publicize this week: “Art is a wonderful thing. You probably couldn’t live without it.”


I say all of this to acknowledge my awareness of the financial stress that school districts have to address in their struggle to continue to provide arts education. Additionally (and especially during these weeks each spring), the ongoing press for test preparation related to the ISAT and PSAE also takes time and attention from the arts in schools.


But please keep up your support. We know now that learning in the arts builds new mental “schema” and cognitive pathways that contribute to each child’s creativity and intelligence. We gain nothing by lessening our attention to the arts—indeed, there is a cost in the academic and social development of our students.


Thanks for listening as always—and have a great week.




Randy Dunn

State Superintendent of Schools (Interim)


Also in today’s message:



Seeking changes in Illinois’ Accountability Workbook

There are several bills before the Illinois General Assembly this spring that address aspects of accountability of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Many of them seek to change one or several aspects of Illinois’ Accountability Workbook (e.g., increase the subgroup number, have data analyzed for the same subgroup and same subject area in order to make/not make adequate yearly progress, allow additional time to take IMAGE). Most of the proposed changes can be made through approval of the United States Department of Education (USDE) and need not be in law. If they are in law, we have less flexibility in the future to change.


As Illinois did in 2004, we will seek some changes in the workbook. ISBE has received recommendations on some issues at the Forum on Students with Disabilities on February 25, 2005 and will hear additional ideas at a meeting of an ad hoc work group on March 10, 2005. About two dozen individuals from across the state representing various constituencies will review a dozen recommendations put forward by staff as well as the recommendations from the Forum. It is our intent to integrate the recommendations we can use (those which are not in conflict with one another) into our Accountability Workbook to fashion a workable request for modifications to USDE for submission by April 1, 2005


Districts encouraged to double-check 2004-05 Teacher Service Record data

ISBE encourages school districts to double-check their Teacher Service Record data before the end of the current school year. The Teacher Service Record data provides the educator information used in Illinois School Report Cards, as well as other agency reports and documents.


Districts are encouraged to make sure that all staff listed on their Teacher Service Record work in positions that require an Illinois teaching certificate. It is especially important that the employment status, months and percent time employed, position code, main assignment and percent time administrative are correct for each person listed. These data elements need to be correct in order to insure that School Report Cards and other reports accurately reflect the educator workforce in each school and district.


If you have any updates or have any questions about the Teacher Service Record, please contact Steve Scaife, Data Analysis and Progress Reporting at 217/782-3950 or


Student Assessment/enrollment counts


Thanks! Districts are finishing testing for grades three, five and eight. ISBE’s Student Assessment staff thanks everyone for all the work that goes into teaching and preparing students for the statewide tests.


Enrollment Counts - February 28 through March 28, 2005 is the window of time for district personnel to enter enrollment counts as of the first day of testing for grades three, five and eight.Please go to the SchoolHouse Web site: to enter these data. These counts should reflect the number of grade three, five and eight students in total and in each subgroup for a home school—regardless of whether they are scheduled to take ISAT, IMAGE or IAA and regardless of whether they are scheduled to test at their home or receiving school.


For more detailed descriptions of the data collection/correction process, please visit


Student Information System (SIS) – overview online

The passage of the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” increased accountability and reporting requirements regarding student academic achievement. In order to better respond to these and other federal and state reporting requirements, ISBE and the IBM Corporation are in the process of developing and implementing a state-level student information system. Through the project students will be assigned a unique identification number. All data to and from the state will use that unique identifier. The use of individual student records will:


An overview of the SIS plans, schedule and other details are at


Invitation to Comment on Rules


At its February meeting, the State Board of Education released nine sets of proposed rules for public comment. The last eight of these items have now been posted on the agency’s web site at; choose “Proposed Rules and Amendments”. Please submit any comments or suggestions you may have to


Deadline for Public Comment:           April 25, 2005


Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision)


It has become apparent that, in at least one instance, access to a public early childhood education program has been denied to a child because of the child’s immigration status. The Governor’s Office and the State Board of Education were asked to intervene on behalf of the child’s family and ISBE has been directed to take action to prohibit denials of access such as this.


Free public education is guaranteed regardless of immigration status under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe. The present amendment to Part 1 will make this protection explicit in the rules of the State Board of Education.



Part 25 (Certification)


This set of amendments includes miscellaneous changes that are opportune at this time.


Section 25.11(f) is being revised with respect to the definition of “four years of teaching experience” so that an individual who is approaching the end of the fourth year and who is expected to complete that year in his or her current position will be able to apply for the standard certificate.


The slight revision in each of Sections 25.22, 25.32, 25.42 and 25.82 is technical in nature. Section 25.725 was recently repealed and its currently needed content was subsumed in Section 25.720, so these references need to be updated.


The addition of a new subsection (m) to Section 25.100 will create another exception to the general model for adding endorsements in the case of “technology specialist”. Since Section 25.100 was added last year, staff has found it very difficult to determine which coursework should be counted toward a major area of concentration relevant to this endorsement. Terminology in this area varies widely and it seems the more prudent course of action to require passage of the content-area test based on the applicable standards so as to ensure that candidates are prepared to perform the functions encompassed within the technology specialist’s area. Thus we are proposing that there be only one option available for adding this endorsement (passage of the test in conjunction with completion of 24 semester hours of coursework).


Section 25.115 is being revised to clarify that the “programs” under discussion in these rules are only those that prepare individuals for certification.


Section 25.125(d) discusses the review team that is involved in the on-site accreditation review. The requirement for ISBE team members and an ISBE co-chair on visits involving NCATE accreditation is being deleted. At the same time, the role of the ISBE consultant is being clarified, i.e., this individual does participate in the visit.


The procedure outlined in Section 25.160 has proven to contain one unnecessary step that will be eliminated in this rulemaking. When the State Teacher Certification Board’s recommendation is for approval or accreditation that is not provisional or conditional, there is no need for the affected institution to submit a response and consequently no need for a 30-day waiting period before the recommendation is forwarded to the State Board of Education.


The requirement that each candidate for a school psychologist’s credential have completed a program accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (Section 25.235(a)) was widely applauded during last year’s rulemaking on this subject but has since proven to create an untenable situation. This rule precludes the establishment of any new approved school psychology programs in Illinois, because accreditation by NASP requires data on graduates. Thus a proposed new program cannot attain that accreditation.


We have determined that the long-standing rule on lapsed certificates (Section 25.450) is unnecessarily stringent in terms of the timeframe within which individuals serving on reinstated certificates must complete the statutorily required five semester hours of college credit. The proposed revision would allow semester hours earned either during the certification year of reinstatement or during the five immediately preceding years to be counted for this purpose.



Part 51 (Dismissal of Tenured Teachers)

Part 52 (Dismissal of Tenured Teachers and Civil Service Employees Under Article 34)


The procedures for the dismissal of tenured teachers in school districts outside of the City of Chicago and within the City of Chicago were previously separated into Parts 51 and 52. The proposed amendments to Part 51 represent the consolidation of these two Parts.


Where required by the School Code, distinctions have been made within the rules to accommodate differences between the processes for the City of Chicago and for districts outside of the City of Chicago. Previously, Parts 51 and 52 had duplicated the statutory requirements for the provision of reasonable warning to remove remediable conduct, approval of a motion for dismissal, notice to a teacher, selection of a hearing officer, scheduling of the hearing and suspension of a teacher pending the hearing. The new version of the rules does not include requirements that are sufficiently specified by statute, as ISBE does not want to force districts, teachers and other constituents to review both the statute and rules to determine where differences occur.


Under the new version of the rules, hearing officers for hearings involving the City of Chicago may be residents of the City of Chicago. Part 52 previously required Chicago hearing officers to be non-residents, even though the statutory restriction on resident hearing officers only applies to hearings outside of the City of Chicago. Finally, the per diem payment of $300 is no longer specified in our rules. ISBE is currently reviewing its ability to increase this per diem amount.


The proposed amendments to Part 51 are accompanied by the repeal of Part 52 in its entirety.



Part 145 (Temporary Relocation Expenses)


As a result of the general review of these rules, it has been determined that the process for repaying loan funds to the State Board can be simplified. Instead of requiring that districts submit to ISBE the proceeds of tax levies related to these expenses within 30 days after the proceeds are received, we believe it will be sufficient for each affected district to make one payment annually, consisting of all proceeds received to that point.


It is not necessary for the State Board to receive the entire total for a given calendar year at the end of that year. Therefore, to accommodate later receipts it seems a reasonable solution to move the collection date into the early part of the subsequent year and to provide explicitly that amounts not received by the annual payment date can be held by the affected districts until the next annual payment is due. In this way it will be clear that there is no penalty for a district whose levy proceeds arrive too late to be included in the relevant annual payment.



Part 155 (Electronic Transfer of Funds)


These proposed changes represent the results of the general review of this set of rules. In addition to general technical updating, the revisions include elimination of the option for certain participants to designate multiple bank accounts for the receipt of electronically transmitted funds. We have not found that many entities have used this option, perhaps because it entails time-consuming maintenance not only on ISBE’s part but also on the part of payees.



Part 475 (Contested Cases and Other Formal Hearings)

Part 480 (Hearings Before the State Teacher Certification Board)


Part 475 is being generally updated and also revised to incorporate a number of provisions that are currently found Part 480 (Hearings Before the State Teacher Certification Board). These two Parts cover similar topics and therefore lend themselves to being combined.


Part 475 will now require evidentiary hearings that are under the jurisdiction of the Certification Board (STCB) to be conducted by a hearing officer in accordance with the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (IAPA), unless the STCB specifically elects not to appoint a hearing officer. A hearing can be held in the presence of the entire Certification Board or independent of it. In any case, the STCB will make the final decision.


Others of the amendments change timeframes for notices and responses in order to give the parties more time to prepare their material. Finally, the language of the rules is generally being brought into conformance with the requirements of the IAPA and current rulemaking style. The proposed amendments to Part 475 are accompanied by the proposed repeal of Part 480.


Notice of Completed Rulemaking


Please be advised that a rulemaking item recently adopted by the State Board of Education is now in effect. This set of rules has been posted on the agency’s web site at; choose “Rules Currently in Effect” and scroll to the relevant Part number. (If you print only the affected Sections, remember to include the table of contents for the Part, which changes every time the Part is amended.)


Access to Information of the State Board of Education Under the

Freedom of Information Act (Part 5001)


Several of ISBE’s Freedom of Information Act rules were repeated verbatim from the text of the Act or are otherwise adequately addressed by statute. These sections were determined to be unnecessary and have been deleted. The procedures for providing public records and the procedures for providing access to materials incorporated by reference in administrative rules were consolidated into one Subpart. While the amendments have streamlined ISBE’s FOIA rules, they do not represent a substantive change in ISBE’s FOIA procedures.


Affected Sections:      5001.100, 5001.110, 5001.210, 5001.300, 5001.310, 5001.400, 5001.410, 5001.500, 5001.510, 5001.520 and 5001.600

Effective Date:            February 22, 2005


Technology training for educators- summer institutes

The College of Education and the Office of Continuing Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, along with Microsoft Corporation, are offering A Moveable Feast VIII: Technology Training for Educators at sites across the state this summer. The weeklong summer institutes provide P-12 educators with hands-on training on the latest productivity tools, free Microsoft Office software, an opportunity to network with other educators, ideas for curriculum integration and time to prepare a project for their own classrooms. Teachers receive over 30 hours of instruction (with 1:10 trainer to participant ratio) on the latest technology trends in a relaxed environment, with support from teacher trainers. Participants are eligible for 30 CPDUs and the Feast also meets Special Education requirements for CPDUs. The dates for Feast VIII are June 13-17, June 20-24 or July 11-15, 2005.

For more on the institutes go to: or contact coordinators at 217-333-2882 or


Applying for exemptions from the school breakfast requirement in the Childhood Relief Act

As a follow-up to the School Breakfast letters sent out last week, Regional Superintendents are authorized to grant exemptions to the school breakfast program requirement in the Childhood Hunger Relief Act if it is determined that the expense reimbursement would not fully cover the costs of implementing and operating a school breakfast program (provided that the circumstances are specific to the district). For more information on this option please contact your Regional Office of Education.