| For Immediate Release
November 3, 2004
New State Board of Education reaches
major milestone in eliminating teacher certification backlog
Milestone achieved to help teachers and
Springfield, Ill. The Illinois State Board of
Education announced today that it has achieved a major
milestone in eliminating the backlog of more than 7,500
teacher certificate applications in Illinois. Work over
the last four weeks has entirely eliminated the 15-month
backlog of teacher certification applications for Chicago
Public Schools (CPS) and reduced the remainder of the
states backlog from 15 months to 12 months. Unlike
other districts, the Illinois State Board of Education
serves CPS as its Regional Office of Education. Governor
Rod Blagojevich made clearing the teacher certification
backlog a top priority for the new State Board of Education
when he appointed seven new members in September.
These are the kind of results we need to see at
the Illinois State Board of Education, said Gov.
Blagojevich. This is an important first step in
fixing a problem that teachers and schools have faced
for more than a year.
Interim State Superintendent Randy Dunn quickly tackled
the states certification backlog after taking the
lead at the agency last month. He immediately redirected
agency resources and support to certification staff.
Were well on the way to doing away with a
serious problem, said Interim Superintendent Randy
Dunn. Our staff members rolled up their sleeves
to tackle a bad situation that had been around for a long
time. With good progress already achieved, were
digging in to finish the task.
The CTU is grateful to the Interim Superintendent
and the Board of Education for providing the resources
to help the staff eliminate the backlog, said Chicago
Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart. We encourage
our members to improve themselves through additional qualifications
and as a result, those we serve, the children, ultimately
Gov. Blagojevich called for clearing the certification
backlog during his 2004 State of the State Address when
he announced the critical need for major restructuring
at the State Board of Education. In September, the Governor
signed sweeping education reform legislation and appointed
seven new members to the State Board of Education. The
Governor tasked the new board with cutting bureaucracy
and helping local schools and teachers.
Under the leadership of Board Chairman Jesse Ruiz and
Interim Superintendent Dunn, the State Board began developing
improved methods for helping schools ensure that properly
certified teachers are in Illinois classrooms. By using
more technology and improved procedures and focusing on
helping teachers get their credentials, the Board expects
backlogs to become a problem of the past.
Teachers with applications pending can check the status
of their applications at the Online Teacher Information
System (OTIS), www.isbe.net/otis/.