Many of you know about the updated law regarding teacher licensure that removes some of the requirements related to the test of basic skills. IAASE supported the bill when it was moving through the legislature as it removed an unnecessary burden on potential applicants into the teacher pipeline. But, we hit a wrinkle when it was signed last week. That wrinkle is that it also applies to paraprofessionals and that meant that a shortage of parapros throughout the state would be getting worse. IAASE President, Kevin Rubenstein, received lots of calls from people all over the state who were concerned about this issue. He worked with the team at ISBE and our governmental relations consultant (Shannon Miller Bellini) to figure out a way to address the issue. We realize that this is not a perfect fix, but Dr. Carmen Ayala, Superintendent at ISBE addresses the issue in her weekly newsletter:
From ISBE Superintendent, Dr. Carmen Ayala
As many of you know, last week Governor Pritzker signed PA 101-0220 into law. The new law eliminates the requirement that a licensure candidate pass a test of basic skills. This clears the path for any teacher candidate who had completed all other requirements to earn the Professional Educator License. ISBE has identified 246 individuals with currently pending license applications that will be updated. Those candidates will either receive a license or be able to move forward with other remaining requirements.
We understand there are concerns regarding the passing of this law and how it effects individuals applying for a paraprofessional endorsement. We are working with the sponsors of the legislation to author a trailer bill during the fall veto session to reinstate the option for those applying for a paraprofessional endorsement to do so using a test. In the interim, individuals who do not hold an associate degree or higher or a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit from a regionally accredited institution of higher education may proceed with taking the ETS-paraprofessional exam or ACT WorkKeys, with the understanding that ISBE cannot consider a passing score as a means to obtain the endorsement until subsequent legislation is enacted. This likely will not occur until November due to the timing of the fall veto session.
The law does not affect endorsements and licenses that have already been issued. We have prepared a fact sheet with frequently asked questions to assist you and we will continue to keep you updated as we have more information.Our IAASE Legislative Team will collaborate with the bill's sponsors to make sure that there is a fix for the Fall Veto Session.