ISBE proposes reducing education requirements for teachers

ISBE proposes reducing education requirements for teachers.

Last year, Illinois saw 1,400 unfilled teaching positions. Now, the Illinois State Board of Education wants to make it easier to become a teacher in the state. However, others have concerns the new proposals could lower the standard of education.

New recommendations from ISBE are working to address Illinois’ dire need for teachers.

One proposal is to do away with a basic skills test for teachers who already have a bachelor’s degree. Instead, an ACT or SAT score would be used. Another proposal suggests not requiring people with substitute teaching experience to complete a two-year teaching degree program, and instead, count things like working in the classroom.

Someone who has gone through the two-year training disagrees with eliminating the current requirement.

"Understanding how children learn, how they develop, how I could provide them the information they needed,” former educator Rebecca Shuster said. “And as a parent, I value it to this day.”

The Illinois Education Association, or IEA, said they want to make sure the standard of education for students is not compromised. They think teacher salaries is what's causing the shortage, not teacher education requirements.

"It's important to remove any barriers there are to people coming into the profession, but at the same time it's also important to maintain the rigor that you have to have with regard to the training programs," IEA Director of Government Relations Jim Reed said. "In particular, there’s some concern about the alternative routes to licensure and the use of alternative providers for education preparation.”

The IEA said there are teachers in Illinois making under $30,000 a year, and they've seen others retire at as little as $43,000 a year.

In August, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill calling for a $40,000 minimum teacher salary. Several lawmakers have said they will work to override that veto in November.

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