Gov Bruce Rauner, Republican of Illinois, today signed SB 2912, which will cut some of the red tape out of the state’s licensing requirements and, educators hope, make it easier for teachers who move to Illinois from other states to become work in Illinois’s public schools and help ease the shortage of teachers the state is experiencing.
“This bill is about teachers, jobs and opportunities,” Mr Rauner said in a press release. “We are clearing a better pathway to the classroom for teachers who have moved to Illinois and ensure they can focus on the important job they do, which is educating our children. It’s time to build on this success story and work together to pass a balanced budget and changes that will lead to new jobs and stronger schools to put Illinois back on the right path.”
SB 2912 makes it easier to transfer an out-of-state teachers’ license to Illinois by streamlining the process. The Illinois State Board of Education can now grant an Illinois license to teachers with comparable out-of-state licenses. The bill also reduces several burdens on people trying to become substitute teachers.
“Today’s action is a good step toward addressing the shortage of substitute teachers in Illinois while also reducing burdensome regulations on those who want to teach,” said state Representative Tim Butler. “This was a top issue for school administrators from my district and I applaud the Governor’s action on this bill.”
“Investing in our teachers is a critical component to ensuring all children in Illinois are healthy, safe, and well educated, so that by the time they turn 25 they are in good paying, high-quality careers,” Secretary of Education Beth Purvis said. “Lifting these burdens will allow experienced educators quicker access to the classroom without compromising on quality.”
“Illinois has a teacher shortage, especially in underserved areas. Additionally, we struggle to retain a healthy pool of substitute teachers,” said state Senator Dave Luechtefeld, who was a bill sponsor. “Teaching licensure reciprocity will hopefully enable us to bring some of our best and brightest minds back to Illinois from our surrounding states. Many times our youth travel to bordering states to begin their careers; we are encouraging them to come back home and teach our future generations.”
- A similar move by the New York Board of Regents
- Minnesota’s efforts have been plagued with court cases and other problems
“I am deeply appreciative of the General Assembly and the Governor for working with the State Board of Education to address the statewide substitute teacher shortage,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. “The bill signed into law today streamlines the process for becoming a licensed teacher in Illinois, without lowering standards. Our goal and the goal of superintendents across the state is to ensure classrooms are led by qualified individuals every single day. We must continue to think creatively and be open to adapting in order to meet the needs of all students.”
“I want to commend Governor Rauner for signing SB 2912, and the General Assembly for passing it with bipartisan support,” said Carbondale Community High School Superintendent Steve Murphy. “Attracting, developing, and retaining highly effective educators for Illinois schools are one of the pillars of Vision 20/20, and SB 2912 provides common sense solutions addressing the statewide shortages in teachers and substitutes.
“Not a week goes by at CCHS when we don’t require administrators or other support personnel to cover classrooms because of a lack of qualified substitute teachers. Teacher and substitute shortages impact Illinois students and families, and I commend our leaders in Springfield for working together to provide solutions that benefit our schools and communities.”