State Board meeting goals to fix certification system



December 14, 2000                                      (217) 782-4648


Chicago – The Illinois State Board of Education is making great progress toward completing all of the major recommendations it made in 1996 to reform the state’s educator preparation and certification system, according to an annual report to the General Assembly.


The report, required to be filed by January 1, 2001, was reviewed and approved today at the State Board’s regular monthly meeting. The entire report can be viewed at in the December State Board meeting section under Calendars and Meetings.


The State Board, in its 1996 report titled “Illinois Framework for Restructuring the Recruitment, Preparation, Licensure, and Continuing Professional Development of Teachers,” recommended several major initiatives aimed at better attracting, preparing, and supporting teachers while also making them more accountable.


Those recommendations included creating

·        A standards-led teacher preparation and institutional accountability process;

·        A multi-tiered certification system;

·        Professional development expectations for certificate renewal;

·        An induction and mentoring process for novice teachers; and

·        Alternative routes to teaching.


Work is underway on all of these recommendations. The State Board has created and implemented a three-tiered certification structure. Teachers now receive either Initial or Standard certificates based on their experience.


The “Master Teacher” Certificate, the third leg of the new certification system, has been issued to nearly 100 veteran teachers who have qualified for certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.


Since February 2000, 10,215 Initial Certificates and 14,977 Standard Certificates have also been issued to new applicants. Another 45,000 Standard Certificates have been issued through the certificate exchange program.


For the first time ever, the state now requires Illinois teachers to complete and show proof of ongoing professional development for certificate renewal. Professional development “credits” can be earned for a wide range of activities completed over the five years covered by a Standard Certificate.


Teachers must complete Certificate Renewal Plans detailing three individual improvement goals and how they plan to meet those goals. The plans are reviewed, approved and administered by Local Professional Development Committees comprising three teachers, the local superintendent or representative and one other person.


In June 2000, the State Board authorized the alignment of Illinois teacher education institutional accreditation expectations with National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) 2000 standards and procedures. Teacher preparation institutions are obligated to meet the standards based on best practice and research. Institutions will be reviewed according to the standards in fall 2001.


The State Board in October 2000 approved seeking legislation to create an induction and mentoring program that would provide three years of support and guidance to novice teachers. The program would be administered through local districts and would focus on a teacher-produced portfolio.


The State Board has also focused significant time and resources on initiatives supporting middle grade education; recruitment to the teaching profession; and revised certification practices that assure rigor, evidence of content knowledge and proof of performance competency.


Finally, several universities in 2000 four colleges and universities designed, implemented and/or continued alternative route to teacher certification programs in an effort to draw more people into teaching.