NEWS

Comment welcome on special education certification rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2001

FOR INFORMATION, CALL
(217) 782-4648

Springfield - The public soon will be able to comment on a proposed special education certification system designed to ensure that students with multiple disabilities are served by teachers who can meet their multiple needs.

The State Board of Education today directed agency staff to make available to the public the proposed rules to implement the new special education certification structure. The proposed rules are expected to be available soon on the State Board’s website, www.isbe.net.

Interested parties will be able to submit written comment on the proposed rules or comment through email once they become available.

“A significant amount of research has shown that most children needing special education services do not have a single disability, and that teachers must be acquainted with and able to work with their wide range of challenges,” said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee.

“We will welcome the public’s thoughts and suggestions as we move ahead with this important change in our education system which we firmly believe will help us truly make Illinois education Second to None,” he said.

The State Board has also asked federal Judge Robert Gettleman, who is overseeing the new certification system’s implementation, for permission to conduct formal public hearings in the near future to allow and garner as much public input as possible. Gettleman may respond to that request as soon as Friday, February 23, McGee said.

The new certification system results from the “Corey H” class action lawsuit filed in federal court in May 1992.

The lawsuit alleged that both the Chicago Public School system and the Illinois State Board of Education failed to ensure that disabled students were properly placed in “least restrictive environments” as federal special education laws require. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in February 1998.

The proposed rules guide the transition from the current certification system comprising numerous individual specialties, to a cross-categorical credential called Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I).

The LBS I teacher will serve students with all disabilities except visual, hearing, and speech-language impairments. All special education teachers except those teaching children with visual, hearing and speech-language impairments will eventually be required to have an LBS I endorsement.

The proposed rules recognize that some teachers are already broadly-enough prepared to immediately earn an LBS I endorsement, while other teachers will need more training to meet the new endorsement’s criteria.

The latter group will be issued an LBS I “limited” endorsement and will teach only students with the disabilities reflected in the endorsement until they receive additional training.