During nursing and doctor shortages, does anyone ever suggest loosening requirements on education and testing to help with the problem? Of course not. Now teaching is not generally a life or death situation but the future of the nation’s children is still a vital responsibility. Except in Illinois.
An investigation by the Chicago Tribune has revealed the dangerous path that the Illinois State Board of Education is taking to relieve the burden of a supposed teacher shortage. They are eliminating several crucial exams along with education requirements.
First and foremost, there are some serious concerns about whether there is even a true shortage. From 2015-16 the numbers of public school teachers rose to approximately 3.83 million. That is a 13% increase from the 2011-12 data. Hannah Putnam, director of research at the National Council on Teacher Quality states, “So nationally it appears that the teacher workforce is increasing, which is hard to square with all the reports on teacher shortages.”
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t shortages, especially in certain subjects and rural areas. But it does raise questions about the truth of Illinois’s “shortage.”
Regardless, Illinois is eliminating certain requirements that prospective teachers need to get licensed. Applicants will even be able to forego education and exams. Some of the controversial changes they have made are;
Allowing applicants to get what is called a “provisional” in-state license and teach even if they failed the exam to see how well they can lead a classroom. The license would be valid for one fiscal year. An applicant would still need to hold a bachelor’s degree and pass other licensing exams.
Out-of-state teachers were previously required to take tests in specific teaching fields to get licensed in Illinois, even if they had taken those types of tests back home. Those exams are no longer required.
Some career and technical educators no longer need at least 20 semester hours of coursework from a regionally accredited institution to renew their licenses. Certain applicants with out-of-state licenses no longer need at least 15 semester hours in a field of study to get an initial license.
These are just a few of the requirement changes and very indicative of how lax the state is becoming in regards to the people educating children.
Source: Chicago Tribune