New Education Laws Take Effect in Illinois

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[authors: Amy Dickerson and Brian Crowley]

Last month, Governor Quinn signed four bills into law addressing various education curriculum, certification, and organization issues.

Senate Bill 3244

In an effort to help Illinois students be better prepared for college and the job market, Public Act 97-704 requires the Illinois State Board of Education to coordinate with various stakeholders and educational organizations to create mathematics curriculum models to be implemented in middle and high schools. The law does not take effect until January 1, 2013, however, it requires the curriculum models to be completed no later than March 1, 2013. The models shall be available to all school districts, which may choose to adopt or adapt the models in lieu of developing their own math curricula.

Senate Bill 2706

Public Act 97-703 will reduce the number of regional offices of education from 45 to 35 through consolidation so that each region contains at least 61,000 inhabitants, up from 43,000, by July 1, 2015. ISBE has not yet identified which regional offices it will select for consolidation, however, the law permits offices to voluntarily consolidate prior to June 30, 2013.

Senate Bill 638

Public Act 97-702 extends the enrollment deadline for the State’s alternative teaching certification programs to September 1, 2013, and the completion deadline to January 1, 2015. Enrollment for the programs was set to close on September 1, 2012, with a completion deadline of September 1, 2013. The law also clarifies that the alternative educator licensure program is available for eligible teachers in charter schools as well as school districts and certain non-public schools.

House Bill 4993

Public Act 97-701 allows educators to receive general administrative endorsements without having to comply with the current two-year teaching requirement if the educator has been enrolled in an ISBE-approved administrator preparation program since before August 1, 2011, and will finish the program before January 1, 2013.