In response to the state’s ongoing teacher shortage, new laws intended to cut red tape for teachers and offer more teaching opportunities for military spouses, were recently signed into law.
Senate Bill 1829 seeks to increase the number of eligible childcare professionals without lowering certification standards, while Senate Bill 3536 makes it easier for willing educators to expand their skills. Gateways Level 5 teachers in a community-based PFA program will now be able to earn a PEL through an alternative licensure program while staying at their current jobs.
Additionally, Senate Bill 2658 extends the validity of a Professional Educator License, with stipulations, from two years to three years for service members and their spouses. The measure has the dual benefit of making it easier for military spouses to secure work as an educator in Illinois, while also helping address the state’s ongoing teacher shortage.
House Bill 4742 allows school districts experiencing severe teacher shortages to contract with a third-party recruiting firm to supplement their substitute teaching search, empowering local school districts to address their teacher shortage, while also protecting existing school staff.
House Bill 5196 will decrease the fees teacher’s aides must pay to become licensed from $50 to $25, removing financial obstacles that have prevented individuals from maintaining and obtaining employment in Illinois.
Seventy-eight percent of the districts surveyed as part of a 2017 Teacher Shortage Survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools identified either a minor or serious problem with teacher shortages. More than half indicated a serious problem with substitute teacher shortages.
The new laws are a product of consultation and discussion between the Illinois Early Learning Council, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth, and a broad array of education experts and stakeholders.