ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed into law a bill that aims to help address a shortage of educators in Illinois public schools.
The bill streamlines the licensing requirements for various endorsement areas, such as Career and Technical Education (CTE) and school psychologist, and makes other related changes.
More than 1,000 teaching positions statewide are unfilled, according to data collected from school districts in October 2016. The majority, approximately 67 percent, of school districts in Illinois have 100 or fewer faculty members, according to the same data.
State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith is in favor of the bill.
"Teachers are agents of change in students' lives and agents of change in their schools."
He said the bill "reduces barriers for educators while maintaining the high standards students deserve."
Public Act 100-0013 makes a number of changes to the School Code, including:
- Lowers the minimum age for an individual to apply for an educator license to 19
- Allows individuals who hold a valid CTE license to substitute teach CTE courses
- Removes the 20-hour coursework requirement for individuals who want to renew a provisional CTE license
- Provides statutory authority for the Director of Special Education endorsement
- Applies the Administrator Academy requirement to maintain an active administrator license only to individuals who have worked in an administrative position within the past five years
- Allows school psychologists to renew their Illinois licenses by providing proof of valid national licensure
The measure was spearheaded by the Illinois State Board of Education and was sponsored by Representative Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood) and Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield).
The Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents served as a critical partner in developing and advocating for the legislation.