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March 20, 2002

State Board to Seek Comments on Proposed Criteria for Earning Standard Certificate

Teachers who hold the state's Initial Teaching Certificate would have two avenues to obtain a Standard Certificate under a proposal presented today by State Superintendent of Education Respicio F. Vazquez.

Vazquez presented the proposal to the State Board for discussion and said he would be seeking input from education partners before recommending action.  The proposal was discussed by the State Teacher Certification Board Monday.  

In either avenue, teachers would be required to verify four years of teaching within a 12-year period, as required by state statutes.  Additionally, one option would require successful completion a state-approved graduate-level course after the second year of teaching in self-assessment of teaching performance aligned to the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards.   

The course would need to be the equivalent of four graduate-level credits and might include components such as the following:  formal instruction documenting evidence of teaching proficiency based on the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards; formal instruction in documenting professional reflection on teaching performance; production of evidence of and reflection on one's teaching performance, including a prescribed video-taped lesson and other components as the State Board requires.

Under the proposed plan being discussed, a college or university in Illinois could offer the course, or it could be developed by either of two entities in partnership with a college or university:  Illinois professional teaching associations or the State Board of Education through Regional Offices of Education.  To assist in the development of such courses, Vazquez's proposal suggests that the state provide financial support to higher education institutions, teacher associations and regional offices to convert existing instructional and assessment capacity to provide standards-based instruction and performance assessment to third- and fourth-year teachers.  

The second option for earning a Standard Certificate under Vazquez's plan would be for a teacher to show evidence of enrollment and at least four month's good standing in the process of completing the rigorous certification requirements of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards or documentation of completion of a graduate course preparing for National Board certification.

"The Board remains fully committed to induction and mentoring for teachers," Vazquez said." However, in the absence of financial support for statewide implementation, this proposal provides a viable plan worthy of further discussion."

Illinois established a three-tier teacher certification system in 1997 with Initial, Standard and Master Certificates.  Initial Certificates are granted to candidates who complete approved programs and pass Basic and Subject Matter tests.  Initial Certificates are good for four years of teaching within 12 years and are not renewable.  Standard Certificates cover five years and are renewable through completion of professional development requirements.  Master Certificates are given to teachers who complete National Board Certification. They are good for ten years and are renewable by completing professional development requirements.   

The law establishing the three-tier certification system provides that Initial Certificate holders shall receive the Standard Certificate when they have completed four years of teaching, as well as examinations and "all other criteria established by the State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Teacher Certification Board."

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777