WEIU-TV reports changes in Springfield could lead to more teacher applicants in the state.
If passed, Senate Bill 1123 would allow future teachers to receive a teaching license through a minimum grade point average of 3.0 out of a 4.0 scale in their core education classes. Illinois State Senator Dale Righter said, Illinois is in a teacher shortage crisis, and that’s why he’s sponsoring Senate Bill 1123. “First of all, let’s not limit ourselves like we have in the last several years to the notion that you can only be a good teacher if you’re a good standardized test taker. That’s just not realistic.” Righter says the bill adds a third way future educators can receive a teaching license – by having a minimum grade-point-average of 3.0 out of a 4.0 scale in their core education classes. “The standardized test measures that are in place in Illinois law right now are artificial, arbitrary barriers to young people who want to get into our classrooms and want to be teachers. We need teachers. We need good teachers.” Associate Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at Eastern Illinois University, Doug Bower said, the testing requirement has increased over several years. Bower said students who are interested in teaching have even left the education program at EIU because they can’t pass the standardized tests. “We’ve lost students that direction, and they’re disappointed because that was their passion. That was their whole plan all the way from when they were children, to be teachers, and to make an impact on kids.” Bower doesn’t think Senate Bill 1123 would affect the quality of teaching in future educators. Jenna Hays works in education and said there should be other benchmarks students should meet in order to receive a teaching license. “Just to make sure the person is super qualified. Maybe speak to their instructors, find out why they couldn’t pass the tests. Maybe have something else in play just to make sure we’re not, you know, throwing someone in there who’s not specifically qualified.” Righter said there are about 65-hundred un-filled teaching positions in Illinois for grades K through 12. Righter hopes the bill will see action once lawmakers return from Spring Break April 25th.