As Governor Rauner said in his State of the State Address, “...the single most important thing we do together as a community, and that is educate our young people...We in Illinois are blessed with wonderful teachers.” Never was a statement more true than this.
Illinois Educator Shortage
The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) conducted a statewide survey of school districts in response to concerns expressed by school districts across the state regarding the increasing challenges of filling licensed teaching positions due to a decreasing number of applicants, as well as the concerns regarding the perceived quality across the pool of applicants.
Sixty-three percent of the school districts in Illinois provided usable responses to the survey. Respondents to the survey believed that there are issues with teacher recruitment and placement. Sixty percent of the respondents reported that they had difficulty with staffing positions and 76% reported that they had fewer qualified candidates applying for positions in their districts.
The survey also showed that the teacher shortages are particularly problematic for secondary schools. More than half of the respondents provided a comment about their situation. Most often reported comments included difficulty in recruiting special, mathematics, and science teachers. Further, they believed there were structural issues that prohibited students from being interested in teaching and for existing teachers to transfer in from out of state.
In an effort to eliminate the teacher shortage crisis in Illinois, members of the IARSS are working with Illinois stakeholders on educator licensure reform. To read the complete report, please go to: http://iarss.org/wpcontent/uploads/2016/01/IllinoisTeacherShortage_12-10-15_kd-2.pdf
Changes to High School Equivalency
The Illinois Community College Board has approved the addition of two High School Equivalency (HSE) exams: The HiSet® (through Educational Testing Services), and the TASC™ (through the Data Resource Corporation/CTB). Beginning in 2016, there will be three HSE tests available within the state, the current GED® Test through GED Testing Services, the HiSet®, and the TASC™.
In addition, GED has announced a score change. GED plans to drop the passing score by five points from 150-145.
People who previously did not pass the GED exam could retroactively receive their diplomas if they scored in the 145-150 range since January 1, 2014. In addition, GED is adding two new score levels to show that a student is ready for college or a career-training program. In some cases, a student may be eligible to earn up to 10 hours of college credit based on the score earned.
The new score levels are effective immediately; however, score reports reflecting the change will not be updated and available until mid-to-late March.
Please do not forget to log-into your ELIS account and place your license in retired status if you are not using your educator license.
Save the Date
I hope that everyone has a great spring and look forward to seeing you in Springfield on July 13th and 14th for the annual IARSS meeting, golf outing and the trash can dinner.
The Sangamon County Sheriff's Office and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop in Springfield, February 18-19, 2016. This training is applicable to grant seekers across all disciplines. Attend this class and you'll learn how to find grants and write winning grant proposals. Tuition is $455 and includes everything: two days of terrific instruction, workbook, and access to our Alumni Forum that's packed full of tools, helpful discussions and more than 200 sample grant proposals. Seating is limited, online reservations are necessary. Registration and additional information is available here.
Please be aware of the various deadlines regarding professional development and licensure registration. Paraprofessionals working in Sangamon County must have their licenses registered in Region 51 by December 31, 2014, or risk a penalty.
Public Act 98-610 became effective December 27, 2013. This public act changed some of the requirements for renewing the Professional Educator License endorsed in a teaching field, or in a school support personnel or administrative area.
- Educators who had a license that expired June 30, 2014 must enter and submit professional development through the ELIS and renew/register the license by August 31, 2014. Any educator who does not complete these requirements will have a lapsed license and not be allowed in the classroom on September 1, 2014. The lapsed license will require a payment of a $500 penalty, entering completed professional into ELIS before the license will be reinstated and being allowed back into the classroom.
- Credit for all professional development activities completed on or before June 30, 2014 must be entered into ELIS by December 31, 2014.
- Credit for all professional development activities earned after July 1, 2014 must be entered within 60 days of completing the activity.
Visit http://www.onlinecolleges.net/illinois/#scholarships for scholarship and financial aid available for students and potential students as well as summaries of available online programs offered by Illinois Colleges.