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Governor Bruce Rauner signs instrumental education legislation

Governor Bruce Rauner  signed important education legislation to help ease Illinois teacher shortage and expand a pilot program to allow high school graduation based on mastery of skills. 

By signing HB 5627, Gov. Rauner changed liscensure requirements to make it easier for out-of-state, retired and substitute teacher to get certified to teach in Illinois.  This law is designed to address growing shortage of teachers in the state.  

In addition he signed legislation, SB2941, that makes it possible for teacher to advance students based on competency rather than traditional "seat time." this shift in focus is designed to re-frame the high school experience to be more responsive to real world college and career demands.

One in five Illinois teaching positions went unfilled in large measure because of licensure requirements that serve to shrink the pool of available candidates. By signing HB5627 Gov. Rauner eases requirements to allow fo more qualified teachers to become available to Illinois schools. 

“We cannot deliver great education without great teachers,” said Gov. Rauner. “A majority of our school districts are reporting shortages, and it is unacceptable. Modernizing our licensing systems is a strong first step to that ought to help schools attract high-quality, transformative teachers for our students.”

Some items these bill address:

  • Creating a “Short Term Substitute Teaching License” so people with either an associate degree or 60 hours of college credit can substitute teach.
  • Providing reciprocity for comparable and valid educator licenses from other states to increase Illinois access to educator talent from across the country.
  • Allowing teachers with lapsed Professional Educator’s Licenses to qualify for a substitute teaching license.
  • Increasing to 120 the number of days that retired teachers can substitute teach without jeopardizing retirement benefits. 

"It is a great time to be a teacher in Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We are committed to ensuring every teacher in every classroom has the resources and support they need to help each child thrive. Allowing for out-of-state reciprocity creates the opportunity for Illinois to welcome additional excellent teachers into our schools. The creation of the short-term substitute teacher license provides an essential tool for districts. We look forward to our schools filling critical vacancies and providing all students the rigorous and well-rounded education they deserve.”

“Teacher shortages lead to strained resources, large class sizes and impaired learning experiences for our children,” said State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “This new approach will help us recruit qualified educators who want to work in our communities. It is important that we encourage new educators by implementing common sense reforms, cutting red tape and making the licensure process reasonable and fair.”

SB2941 opens the pilot to more districts that qualify and to all schools in the district, not just those serving grades 9-12. The Governor’s action means more students and more districts can experiment with this dynamic way of learning.

“This legislation builds on forward-thinking that was part of the PWR Act and helps ensure that all students have learning opportunities that meet their individual needs,” said Rauner. “As a result, many more of our students will be ready for college or work when they have completed their secondary studies.”

“Competency-based education recognizes that it’s the skills learned, not the time spent sitting in class, that prepares students for the workforce, the military and college,” said State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill). “That’s why I’m pleased my bi-partisan expansion of the Postsecondary and Workforce Ready Act has been signed into law by the Governor. This measure makes students in all grades, not just high school, eligible for this personalized way of learning. It also allows school districts to join together in collaborative pilot programs, stretching tax dollars to assist more students.”

"I believe it is important we provide our students with a world-class education and allow opportunities for students to prepare for life, college, or the workforce before graduating high school," said State Representative Latoya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis). "I look forward to seeing the benefits of this program in school districts throughout Illinois as we strive to enhance the learning experience for our students." 

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