For immediate release
February 18, 2004
State Board Revised Guidelines for Non-Public School Recognition
Approves two methods for recognition
(SPRINGFIELD) The Illinois State Board of Education
today approved revised guidelines for providing state recognition
to privately owned and operated schools.
Approval of the Non-Public School Recognition guidelines
comes seven months after a Governors line item veto
in the agencys Accountability department forced the
Board to eliminate what was then, a non-mandated service.
ISBE had recognized the schools since the mid 70s at the request
of the Illinois Advisory Committee on Nonpublic Schools. The
General Assembly restored funding for the program in November,
and subsequently approved legislation mandating ISBE to recognize
nonpublic schools. The Governor signed the bill into law last
ISBE always considered this a valuable service we
provided to private schools, said State Superintendent
of Education Robert Schiller. The guidelines provide
a process not only to continue that service, but to do so
in an even more efficient manner, agreed to by the constituents
we are serving.
The revised guidelines now allow two methods for establishing
recognition. The first established recognition method requires
that schools be registered in the state (meaning they have
filed documents assuring compliance with health and safety
requirements). For recognition, registered schools further
agree to conform to minimum requirements set forth by ISBE
- Establishing and following a 176-day calendar of no less
than five hours of instruction per day
- Submit to an on-site visit by an ISBE team
- Submit proper documentation furnishing evidence of compliance
with state and federal laws regarding health examination,
immunization, attendance, length of term, non-discrimination
and meet applicable fire and health safety requirements.
The second, and newly added, method now allows for initial
and continued recognition by schools participating in programs
conducted by approved accrediting agencies (such as the North
Central Association). For accreditation/accountability processes
to be state approved they must demonstrate that the criterion
specified in the guidelines have been met.
This second alternative method avoids duplicative efforts
conducted by accrediting agencies, said Schiller.
In addition to providing public assurance, participation
offers several benefits, including participation in interscholastic
and athletic competitions, and meeting some college or entrance
The Illinois Advisory Committee on Nonpublic Schools, first
established in 1975, took on the task last October of streamlining
and revising the recognition process. Members of the Committee
include representatives from the Catholic Dioceses, the Catholic
Conference and other administrative organizations.
A total of 674 Illinois non-public schools received recognition
status for the 2003-04 school year by the Illinois State Board
of Education. The recognized non-public schools list can be
accessed at www.isbe.net/news/2003/04_recog_nonpublic_schls.pdf
ISBE recognition is sought by non-public schools for various
- Providing assurance that the school's educational program
has been approved by ISBE and meets at least minimum state
- It is an aid/requirement to entrance in many colleges,
universities, and other post-secondary institutions and
- It is a requirement for membership in Illinois High School
Association and student participation in Illinois Elementary
School Association sanctioned sports, contests, tournaments,
and other extracurricular and co-curricular activities.
- Evidence of graduating from a recognized school is a requirement
for acceptance/assignment to some military training programs
(to avoid additional testing)
- Teaching in a recognized nonpublic school is often used
to determine placement on the salary schedule when teachers
transfer to other schools, both public and private, especially
in other states.
- Student transfers from recognized schools are expedited
and credits can be generally accepted.