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New Illinois law eliminates basic skills test for teachers, to combat personnel shortage

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that eliminates a basic skills test which was required for Illinois teachers to receive a Professional Educator License.

Public Act 101-0220 was signed into law on Wednesday.

The new law allows approximately 1,300 teaching candidates to begin teaching students this fall.

“The State Board of Education supports high standards for the professionals in our classrooms. However, the test of basic skills did not advance teacher effectiveness,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala said in a statement. “Rather, it created a financial and practical barrier that prevented highly skilled and passionate potential teachers from beginning their careers in Illinois.”

The test had required all teacher candidates to demonstrate complex skills, such as geometry proofs, that often were unrelated to the grade or subject the candidate intended to teach.

Candidates must still pass the edTPA, which asks teacher candidates to demonstrate skills in planning, instruction, and assessment, and a content test relevant to the subject they intend to teach.

“Ensuring every classroom has a prepared and effective teacher is a matter of equity,” said Ayala. “Illinois is facing a complex teacher shortage along with the rest of the country. We look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers, institutions of higher education, and the field on short- and long-term solutions.”

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