Teacher Preparation

Illinois Eases Licensing Rules for Out-of-State Teachers to Stem Shortages

By Emmanuel Felton — January 11, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Illinois is the latest state to ease licensure requirements for out-of-state educators hoping to teach in its classrooms.

“We are clearing a better pathway to the classroom for teachers who have moved to Illinois and ensure they can focus on the important job they do, which is educating our children,” Governor Bruce Rauner said while signing the bill earlier this month at a high school in rural downstate Illinois.

The legislation, which received unanimous support in both chambers of the state legislature, directs the Illinois State Board of Education to start granting teaching licenses to educators with “comparable” credentials from other states. The lawmakers leave it up to the board to determine what constitutes comparable credentials. The bill also reduces the fee associated with applying for a substitute-teaching license. Lawmakers at the bill signing stressed how the legislation would especially help rural schools.

“These common-sense changes to the state’s licensure system will make it easier and more attractive for qualified teachers to seek work in Illinois,” said State Senator Karen McConnaughay. “I believe this new law will help reduce the shortage of teachers in a number of Illinois communities, as well as the shortage of substitute teachers across the state, which many schools have been grappling with. This will be particularly helpful in rural areas, which have been hit hard by this shortage, and our border communities, which have seen qualified teachers seeking placement in neighboring states.”

The New York State Board of Regents adopted similar new rules last summer, dropping a requirement that out-of-state teachers pass the state’s certification exams. But the case of Minnesota underscores how this is easier said than done.

A 2004 effort in Minnesota to streamline the licensure process for out-of-state educators has been mired in red tape for years now. While 531 teachers were granted licenses between 2004 and 2011, the process stopped without explanation in 2012. This has led to a protracted legal battle in which a state court judge recently held the Board of Teaching, an 11-member panel responsible for licensing teachers, in contempt of court.

The teaching board’s executive director, Erin Doan, defended the board’s track record, arguing that the process was complicated by how the state divides responsibilities for granting teaching licenses between the board and the state education department.

While the Minnesota case highlights potential pitfalls, Phillip S. Rogers, the executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, told Education Week Teacher’s Ross Brenneman that the trend line is clear: “We’ve seen more states than ever that consider themselves full-reciprocity states. Ten years ago, you would never have states that say that.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teacher Preparation First-Time Pass Rates on Teacher Licensure Exams Were Secret Until Now. See the Data
The National Council on Teacher Quality published first-time pass rate data on teacher licensing tests, which had been hidden for years.
8 min read
teacher 1276371740 stylized
Drazen Zigic/iStock/Getty
Teacher Preparation The Complicated, Divisive Work of Grading Teacher-Preparation Programs
As the two national accreditors for teacher-preparation programs evolve, the battle over market share heats up.
9 min read
Illustration of checkmark
Teacher Preparation Remote Learning Is Changing Schools. Teacher-Preparation Programs Have to Adjust
For schools to leverage lessons learned during the pandemic, new teachers need better training on how to work in online environments.
8 min read
A teacher tries to keep up with her technology training
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teacher Preparation Opinion Far Too Many Educators Aren’t Prepared to Teach Black and Brown Students
Teacher-prep programs can help address that inadequacy, writes Sharif El-Mekki.
5 min read
A group of multicolored people stand together looking in both directions
Ada DaSilva/DigitalVision Vectors<br/>