NEWS

 

Public comment sought on special ed rules for all teachers

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             FOR INFORMATION, CALL

August 23, 2001                                                                                                                           (217) 782-4648

 

Chicago - The State Board of Education will soon publish and seek public comment on proposed new standards aimed at helping new regular education teacheres meet the needs of special education students.

The State Board today told staff to begin the information gathering process as a vehicle for eventual presentation of a proposal to the Court-appointed Monitor and parties to the Corey H. litigation. The general public will soon be able to review and comment on the proposed new standards through the State Board’s website, www.isbe.net.

 

The State Board must present a proposal by January 1, 2002 for revising special education-related certification requirements for regular education teachers to the Court Monitor overseeing the Corey H. litigation

 

Details of the proposal are being finalized. But essentially non-special education teachers would be required to gain a basic understanding of special education issues in order to serve those special education students who participate in regular classrooms.

 

New teachers would need to meet standards developed for this purpose.  Current regular education teachers would be required to dedicate 10 percent of their continuing professional development activities to special education.

 

However, teachers who have received approval of their professional development plans by November 1, 2002 would not have to meet any extra special education requirements in their first renewal cycle.

 

The proposed standards are expected to be published in the Illinois Register and State Board officials plan to begin soliciting public comment in early fall.

 

In a related matter, State Board staff this week posted on its website the final transition rules for implementation of the new special education certification system.

 

Federal Court Judge Robert Gettleman approved the rules August 15 and ordered them to be disseminated statewide. Gettleman is overseeing implementation of the new certification system as part of the 1992 Corey H. lawsuit.

 

The rules are effective July 1, 2001. They will guide the transition from the existing certification system to the new system anchored by a broad cross-categorical certification.

 

That new credential, called “Learning Behavior Specialist 1” (LBS 1) will allow special education teachers to serve students with all disabilities except visual, hearing, and speech/language impairments.

 

“We are pleased that we have reached a conclusion on this phase of the new special education certification system,” said State Superintendent Glenn W. McGee.

 

“It has been a long and sometimes arduous process. But we believe that this new system will ultimately serve the best interests of our special education students who, as studies have shown, usually have more than one disability,” McGee said.

 

The Corey H. lawsuit, filed in federal court in May 1992, alleged that both the Chicago Public School system and the State Board failed to ensure that disabled students were properly placed in the “least restrictive environment” as federal special education law requires.

 

The Chicago Public Schools settled their portion of the lawsuit immediately before trial.  The State Board went to trial in October 1997, and the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in February 1998.

 

The LBS 1 certification will be designated as either limited or unlimited depending on a teacher’s current endorsements and approvals.

 

The limitations on a “limited” LBS 1 credential will automatically expire after three years for those actively teaching on the certificate, and after seven years for those holding an LBS 1 but not actively teaching.

 

But teachers can remove their limitations prior to their automatic expiration by completing State Board-developed training; college coursework covering “missing” characteristics and methods; passing the test of subject matter relevant to a “missing” disability; presenting qualifications for additional endorsements or approvals; passing the LBS 1 test of subject matter when those tests become available; or presenting evidence of three years’ teaching experience with students for whom they do not currently hold credentials.

 

A summary of the new rules and the complete text of the new rules are posted on the State Board’s website at http://www.isbe.state.il.us/spec-ed/coreyhupdate.htm

 

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