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October 23, 2003

State Board of Education Will Seek Legislation to Address Certification Problem

The State Board of Education today voted to develop legislation for the fall override legislative session that would waive certain professional development requirements for 2004 candidates for Standard Teaching Certificates because the some 7,000 teachers in this group do not have reasonable access to programs and activities that would allow them to earn the certificate in compliance with state law.

The law, which became effective July 1, 2003, provides various options for professional development, one of which is a performance based assessment that is not available. Four of the other five options - participation in a two-year induction and mentoring program, at least four semester hours of graduate credit for coursework in self-assessment, at least four semester hours of graduate credit for coursework related to the NBPTS principles, and 60 CPDUs - require that the program, activity or coursework be approved by the State Board of Education in consultation with the State Teacher Certification Board, and such programs have not yet been developed and approved. The fifth option - receipt of an advanced degree in education - requires only that the degree meet the specific stipulations in law.

Teachers who are now in their fourth year of teaching and who will be eligible for the Standard Certificate in June 2004 are the first group to be affected by the new professional development requirements, but, in most cases, programs are not yet in place that would allow the candidates to meet those requirements.

"The programs are not in place for a number of reasons," said Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education. "They are complex programs that can't be established quickly. Further, the rules implementing this program became effective only last April and, finally, cutbacks in our agency reduced our capacity to work in this area.

"The implementation date for this law probably should have been 2005, but it's not, and seeking a waiver for this one class of teachers is the most appropriate way to remove an unintentional impediment to their certification.

"Eliminating the professional development requirement for this group is fair to all of the affected teachers and gives potential providers time to design and put appropriate programs and activities in place," Schiller said.

During its October 3 meeting, the State Teacher Certification Board members voted unanimously to recommend to the State Board of Education that it seek legislation that would waive the professional development requirements for members of the Class of 2004.

"We will work with the teachers' unions, the General Assembly and others to develop long-term solutions to this problem, so that no teachers other than the class of 2004 are affected," said Schiller.

More detailed background on this issue can be viewed at

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