It is hardly business as usual at the State Board of Education these days. In fact we are busier than ever.
of you know that over the past year we had more than 100 ISBE employees take
advantage of the early retirement initiative. That loss of staff became more
difficult in light of the Governor’s hiring freeze and his budget cuts that
resulted in additional layoffs. There is no doubt that our capacity was
compromised. One of the areas hit hardest was our Teacher Certification
Department where the staff was cut in half and the funding for the Regional
week I traveled to the collar counties where I joined board member
As we move into February I think that we should all look to February 18 with great anticipation. Will the Governor move education forward by implementing the State Board of Education’s recommendations – 91-percent of which address the $250 per pupil increase in General State Aid and appropriate funding of the mandated categoricals? Will he choose Dollywood over funding for the programs for gifted students or the reinstatement of the ADA block grant to the FY03 funding level? I anxiously await the unveiling of the Fiscal Year 2005 budget and wonder how our 891 school districts will fare.
I also look forward to an opportunity next Tuesday when I will illustrate how great an impact $609 million will have on our 102 counties when I testify before the House Appropriation Committee. On Wednesday when I testify before the Senate Education Committee on the Condition of Education report I anticipate being asked about the local control issues involved in the Governor’s plan. I admit I am curious how one might acquire $1 billion in savings byconsolidating costs through purchasing plans and health coverage, without shifting more costs onto districts.
know what the State Board of Education’s vision is for our schools.
It is outlined in the Condition of Education report and addresses what schools
need because they are real, but those needs don’t always make banner
headlines. The Condition of Education report advances education. It reinforces
our Learning Standards. Each of you knows that our learning standards were
adopted in 1997. A copy of those standards went out to each one of our teachers
statewide. Our standards are our bedrock, our foundation for education in
our standards for funding education are not as solid, and conversely, earned
Secondly, by consolidating costs there will be control of dollars. Local control is meaningless if the Governor dictates how your locally raised dollars are spent. I am continually asked if school construction grants will become the equivalent of pork projects and if school districts will have to replace grant administrators with lobbyists?
I wish I had better answers for all you. Rest assured today, and whatever tomorrow will bring that I will continue to offer each you is my honesty and advocacy.
Also in today’s message:
2003 Report Cards Are Now Available Online
The 2003 English and Spanish school, district, and state report cards are now available online at:
Individual school report cards dating back to the 1998-99 school year are also available. District report cards are available for the last two years. This year the site has a new feature that provides access to the district summaries. In order to view/print the report cards, please make sure your system meets the following requirements:
How to Code Students Having Multiple Races/Ethnicities--Multiple races/ethnicity can only be indicated in the spring 2004 testing for grades 3-11 for ISAT, IMAGE, IAA and PSAE by marking all of the relevant racial/ethnicity codes on the student answer documents. It is not possible to submit multiple races/ethnicities on the pre-ID files for this year. Students who are coded on their answer documents this year as having multiple races/ethnicities will be included in a separate subgroup for the 2004 AYP participation and performance calculations. There is a special process for collecting multi-racial/ethnicities information from Grade 2 schools this year and they will be contacted individually about how to submit this information.
Alert Regarding E-mail Communications from Pearson Educational Measurement--Please be certain to verify with your district’s technical support staff that your server is not blocking emails from Pearson Educational Measurement. Pearson has not been able to send many districts their pre-ID summary reports because the district's server is identifying them as SPAM and not delivering their emails (which end with @pearson.com). This will become increasingly more important as the Illinois State Board of Education works with Pearson Education Measurement for better and faster data collection and data reporting for you and your schools.
Retaining Your Sample Assessment Materials--Many schools and districts have been asking when to expect their 2004 sample books for ISAT, IMAGE, and PSAE. Please remind your staff that the Illinois State Board of Education requested that the 2003 sample books in all subjects be retained in the districts for the next two to three years for future reference.
Studies to Be Conducted Regarding Change in Test Dates--
Concerns have been expressed regarding the earlier testing dates for 2005, especially for the PSAE. We will be conducting score adjustment/re-norming studies in the coming year. Since the PSAE measures knowledge and skills accumulated over the entire time of a student’s education, seven weeks is not predicted to cause a significant discrepancy, but we will certainly be studying this as we bridge into the new testing schedule. We have been conferring extensively with ACT about this matter throughout the test date selection process. If you need further information, please contact email@example.com.
Four Illinois Schools Selected to Implement High Schools That Work
In July, 2003,
In September, 2003, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was released to public high schools to identify sites interested in replicating the High Schools That Work model for school improvement. The high school had to show a commitment to:
· Support academic and career and technical teachers with staff development, materials, and time to work together to implement the key practices.
· Give school leaders and teachers the encouragement and flexibility to define problems and to change what and how they teach.
· Give students access to modern career and technical education courses, working closely with employers and two-year postsecondary institutions.
· Create and implement a site-based staff development plan.
· Be an active member of a state and multi-state network for information and idea sharing.
Through the competitive
RFP process, four high schools were identified as HSTW sites:
Invitation to Comment on Rules
At its January meeting, the State Board of Education released two sets of proposed amendments for public comment. These rulemaking items have been posted on the agency’s web site at www.isbe.net/rules; choose “Proposed Rules and Amendments.” Please submit any comments or suggestions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision)
Most of the material in this set of amendments is needed to complement the proposed amendments to Part 25 (Certification) published last month, so that it will be clear who may be assigned to which positions in schools as the standards-based system of educational credentials is fully implemented. Subpart F of Part 1 describes the requirements for assignment and supervision of paraprofessionals, and Subpart G conveys the requirements for assignment of teachers at various grade levels and in various academic subjects and other areas.
Requirements for Teachers
One of the key issues addressed in the proposed
rules is the status of the many current
Under the proposed amendments, these teachers will continue to be eligible for assignment in areas in which they have already taught for at least two full semesters. This requirement for experience is intended to provide the assurance that the teacher’s credentials were reviewed at the local level.
Individuals who hold the qualifications that were previously accepted for particular assignments but who have never been assigned in those fields will have two options for maintaining their eligibility under these proposed rules.
Each of the existing sets of requirements in Subpart G will now be prefaced by an explanation of how and when it is replaced by new requirements and where those are to be found. The corresponding new Sections then identify all the groups who may be assigned, including:
At the secondary level, new minimum requirements for assignment are stated. These generally involve the same total number of semester hours of college credit that have been required for certain endorsements for quite a few years, but stripped of the previous specificity about the distribution of those semester hours among particular topics. This will help accommodate the transition to a standards-based system, in which the course-by-course coverage of topics may not be as readily predictable, while still requiring a significant amount of coursework before someone is eligible to teach in a particular field.
Requirements for Paraprofessionals
Many of the changes in Sections 1.610 through 1.660 involve technical updating and/or revisions whose purpose is to make clear what districts’ obligations are. Some existing provisions are being reorganized for the same reasons. The function of Part 1 is to describe how districts may assign paraprofessionals and administer their services. This material will now complement the pending revisions in Part 25 that describe the requirements paraprofessionals must meet in order to secure approval.
The main substantive issue in this group of rules is the applicability of the requirement for a letter of approval to paraprofessionals in special education programs (see Sections 1.630(b)(2) and 1.630(b)(5)(C)). Long-standing practice has exempted these individuals from the requirement for approval, but this is inconsistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Therefore, these rules require that instructional aides in special education meet the same requirements as other paraprofessionals but give them three years to earn the approval. The three-year window that this rule establishes is in keeping with federal regulations regarding personnel who serve students with disabilities.
It should be noted that the requirement for approval as a paraprofessional does not apply to individuals who serve primarily as personal care assistants to students with disabilities.
These proposed amendments also affect three other Sections unrelated to staff qualifications.
Deadline for Public Comment:
Part 25 (Certification)
It is nearly time for the first group of teachers who hold standard certificates to complete five years of teaching on those certificates and to apply for their renewal. As ISBE staff members have been reviewing the procedures that all the parties will need to take in the certificate renewal process, one aspect of the rules has been identified as entailing unnecessary expense not required by the statute.
The requirements for processing teachers’ applications for certificate renewal include keeping teachers informed via written notification of the recommendations that are being made at each stage.
In all four of these situations, written notice of recommendations and decisions not to renew must be sent by means that include a return receipt. In the second instance, the rule (Section 25.835(d)(3)) requires every notification to include a return receipt. There is clearly no need for teachers to be notified by a means that entails extra expense when the recommendation is positive and they will have no need to appeal it.
We assume that the large majority of recommendations will be for certificate renewal and that streamlining these communications will lead to significant savings in at least some instances. At a time when resources are very scarce and when LPDCs in particular may have very limited access to financial support, we believe it is incumbent on the State Board to eliminate this requirement in time for this spring’s implementation of the renewal process. Consequently the agency has filed an emergency amendment to this effect so that the change will be in effect when this year’s notices are being sent. Promulgation of this identical regular amendment is also needed, to replace the emergency amendment when it expires.
Deadline for Public Comment:
USDA letter regarding Mad Cow Disease
The Illinois State Board of Education has
received a letter from the United States Department of Agriculture which explains
the supply chain for beef supplied to the Food Distribution Program.
The purpose of this letter is to express their complete confidence in the
safety of the beef in light of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
recently discovered in
We have posted this letter on the Nutrition Programs and Support Service website. If you would like to view and/or print this letter, go to http://isbe.net/nutrition/pdf/usda_mad_cow.pdf.
We hope you find this useful. If you have questions, direct them to Jerry Scranton at 800-545-7892 or at email@example.com.
Funds Available to Support Artist Residencies in Illinois Schools
Arts Council (IAC) is pleased to announce the availability of the
Arts-in-Education (AIE) Residency Program grants. These grants provide financial