* The same Tribune writers who penned that goofy piece about alleged legislative “interference” with the teacher licensing process (which uncovered no evidence of any unqualified teachers) are at it again…
Illinois school districts have employed hundreds of educators to teach everything from science to special education even though they lacked proper credentials in those subjects, a Tribune investigation has found.
Their primary evidence…
As part of an overhaul of teacher licensing in Illinois, the state has begun to close loopholes that allow educators to teach in areas in which they’re not credentialed.
Eliminated last year, one long-standing loophole let districts hire someone without the appropriate credentials in a particular subject and let them work for up to three years. Districts had to show that they tried but couldn’t find a candidate who met the state standards. And the teacher had to pursue getting fully credentialed in the subject, though records show some never did.
Educators approved under the loophole may still teach until 2016. About 200 requests for this provision have been submitted in recent years, according to the state. Several districts asserted they couldn’t find an applicant even in teaching fields with a large surplus such as language arts, the Tribune found.
Notice, they report that 200 requests have been submitted “in recent years.” They don’t say how long that time period is. Ten years? Five years?
Also notice that the “loophole” in question is being closed.
* And when they asked an expert about the dangers of teachers instructing classes that they aren’t credentialed to teach, the expert said, in part…
“What if it were your kid?”
* Part of the problem here is the Illinois State Board of Education’s cumbersome credentialing process. It takes forever just to read the agency’s 21-page explanation of the process. So, while districts wait on the ISBE, they occasionally ask for exemptions.
* But is this really an issue at all? Check out the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ response to the Tribune article…
In Chicago, only 75% of teachers at a charter school must be licensed, and the school has three years to hit that bar. Where is the Tribune’s outrage?
The word “charter” is nowhere in the Trib’s story.
And neither is any mention of this point made by the IFT…
The Tribune has yet to write a takedown of the “Teach for America” program that has been around since 1990 and places recent college grads in some of the neediest schools to teach for two years without a license.
The Tribune has been silent on the disconnect between state and national requirements that mean teachers who are “highly qualified” under the federal No Child Left Behind may not have their Illinois licenses. Perhaps following a few teachers through the red tape could show the public how dysfunctional the system that teachers must navigate to serve their students is
* The Illinois Education Association also jumped into the fray…
It’s unfortunate that the Chicago Tribune, which employs many first rate reporters covering news and politics, has an editorial board that is committed to advancing the agenda of those who wish to privatize public education. There is supposed to be a wall between editorial and news but, at the Tribune, there are holes in that wall.
The paper’s editorial philosophy is regularly promoted in overblown front page stories that unfairly and inaccurately attack public education and education employees. Here’s the latest example.
The strategy is simple: run as many front page stories as possible talking down public schools, implying classrooms are typically staffed by under qualified and overcompensated teachers. It’s a lie, of course, but the theory is that, if public support of our public schools can be reduced, the goals of the privateers can be achieved.
* The IEA is also asking its members to sign an IFT MoveOn.org petition.
*** UPDATE *** Thanks to commenter “Soccermom” for finding this summary of state requirements to teach in private and parochial schools…
* Teacher certification is not required for teachers at recognized nonpublic schools unless the school governance chooses to require it as a condition of employment.
* The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) encourages all teachers at nonpublic schools to have at least a baccalaureate degree in the subject they are teaching. If the nonpublic teacher does not have his or her baccalaureate degree, then ISBE encourages the teacher to develop a timeline on how he or she plans to finish his or her education. If an individual with less than a baccalaureate degree is teaching, ISBE will note it in a report. This policy does not vary depending on the school‘s recognition status.
In other words, there basically are no requirements. Alert the Tribune!!!