Illinois State Board of Education

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2002

For Information:

Teacher pass rates remain high, certificate waivers up in 2000

Students in Illinois’ poorest school districts continue to be taught by a disproportionate number of teachers who have been waived from fully meeting state certification requirements, according to a report to the U.S. Department of Education that covers 2000-2001 school year data.

Illinois’ draft 2002 Title II Report Card on Teacher Preparation, a requirement of federal law, shows that the percentage of teachers with provisional and emergency certificates who were teaching in high-poverty schools increased from 5.4% in 1999 to 6.5% in 2000. In non-high-poverty schools, the percentage grew from 1.2% to 1.5% during that same year.

The categories of “waiver” certificates are

  • Full-Time Substitute Certificate (Type 39) is applicable, by law, only in Chicago Public Schools. It is issued to individuals with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university who may not have been trained as a teacher.
  • Transitional Bilingual Certificate (Type 29) is issued to individuals who pass the appropriate language proficiency exam and hold the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Many of the individuals were prepared as teachers in their native country, but that often does not qualify them for an Illinois Initial Teaching Certificate.
  • Resident Teacher Certificate is issued to individuals with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university who is enrolled in an approved preparation program and has passed the Basic Skills and Subject-Matter Knowledge tests.
  • Provisional Certificates include provisional vocational, temporary provisional vocational, part-time provisional and provisional alternative certificates. The latter is issued to individuals completing their internships in an approved alternative route to teacher certification program.

The overall percentage of teachers on the so-called waiver certificates in Illinois increased from 2.6% in 1999 to 3.2% in 2000. This is particularly significant because the number of teachers in the state increased by nearly 4,000 over that time period.

Complicating the issue of teacher qualifications is the fact that the federal Title II law is not consistent with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in identifying individuals who meet and do not meet certification requirements. Consequently, this report card does not reflect the impact of NCLB initiatives or Illinois’ new enhanced basic skills test that began in fall 2001. USDE has indicated it will address the inconsistencies with NCLB.

“You cannot meaningfully improve student achievement if you do not first address teacher quality,” State Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller said. “The state must place a higher priority on the issues of recruitment into the profession, retaining more good teachers in the classroom, especially in our lower-performing schools.” Schiller said the State Board will use federal NCLB funds to begin to support these efforts.

Under NCLB, local school districts are required by federal law to ensure that all teachers in the core academic subject areas are “highly qualified” by 2005-2006. The federal funds districts have received under the act can be used to help under-qualified teachers meet the certification requirements for their teaching assignments.

Certification Test Pass Rates Remain High

Illinois teacher preparation institutions continue to report high pass rates on certification tests. The Title II State Report Card provides the scores of each institution and information about the number of students, programs and other characteristics of the institutions.

That picture may change next year when the results of the Enhanced Basic Skills test will be reported for the first time in place of the test used for this report card. Beyond next year, the pass rates will also be impacted by new state legislation that requires candidates to pass the Enhanced Basic Skills Test as a condition of admission into the teacher education program, and the content area tests as a condition for student teaching.

The final State Report Card will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by October 7, 2002.

Tables with pass rates and waiver data are attached.