FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2003
State Board accepts proposed criteria for highly
qualified teachers under federal law
The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted Illinois
criteria for meeting the requirements of the federal No
Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) for highly qualified
teachers. NCLB requires that all teachers of core academic
subjects be highly qualified by the end of the 20052006
NCLB distinguishes between new and current, or veteran,
teachers. Current teachers are those who were
first certified in Illinois on or before June 30, 2002.
The new Illinois criteria require that current teachers
hold a valid certificate for the grade level of assignment
and meet one of the following five options:
- Pass the Elementary/Middle Grades Test or the subject-area
test for their area of teaching responsibility.
- Have a major, or coursework equivalent to a major,
in the area of teaching responsibility.
- Have a masters degree or other advanced degree
or credential in the area of teaching responsibility.
- Be certified by the National Board of Professional
Teaching Standards in the area of teaching responsibility.
- Have an endorsement, or its coursework equivalent,
that is sufficient to meet the Illinois minimum requirements
for the area of teaching responsibility; have teaching
experience in the area of teaching responsibility; and
have engaged in continuing professional development
in the area of teaching responsibility.
New teachers are defined as those who were
first certified in Illinois on or after July 1, 2002.
The criteria for new teachers identify the certification
the new teacher must hold for a given teaching assignment
and the options available for demonstrating subject-area
competence. In general, a candidate can demonstrate competence
by passing a subject-area test, holding a masters
or other advanced degree in the subject area, or having
an endorsement in the subject area or coursework equivalent
to a major.
All teachers, new or veteran, who were newly hired to
teach in Title Isupported programs must have met
the criteria for being a highly qualified teacher beginning
with the 20022003 school year. School districts
are expected to use federal funds to annually increase
the percentage of classes taught by highly qualified teachers,
with the goal that all teachers who are teaching core
academic subjects be highly qualified by the end of the
20052006 school year. Parents must be notified if
their child has been taught in a core academic subject
area for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who
does not meet the criteria necessary to be highly qualified.
The State Board chose to exclude all special education
teachers (whether new or current) from the new criteria,
pending further guidance from Congress and the U.S. Department
of Education. Reauthorization of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act is expected to address the
qualifications that special education teachers must meet
to be considered highly qualified. Until that happens,
or until the federal government clarifies its expectations,
Illinois special education teachers will not be addressed
by requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Last September, the State Board approved a draft definition
of a highly qualified teacher. That definition has been
revised based on subsequent guidance from USDE. Some highlights
of the new criteria:
- Middle grade teachers have several options for being
considered highly qualified. Elementary certificate
holders who pass the Elementary/Middle Grades Test are
highly qualified, as are secondary certificate holders
who have demonstrated subject-area competence through
a subject-area test, coursework, or advanced degrees
in the area of teaching assignment. In addition, middle
grade teachers in a departmental setting may be highly
qualified by holding the middle grade endorsement or
its coursework equivalent.
- Holders of provisional certificates based on an out-of-state
certificate will be considered to be highly qualified.
- Holders of Transitional Bilingual Certificates (Type
29) are considered to be highly qualified if they hold
a major or pass a subject-area test, participate in
a program that provides induction/mentoring/professional
development, and are continuously enrolled in a program
to fulfill state requirements for certification at the
early childhood, elementary, secondary or K12
to access the specific requirements of the new criteria.