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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2001

Governor Calls for Statewide Education Summit in November
Summit to create a legislative agenda to improve recruitment and quality of teachers

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Ryan today issued a call for education, business, labor and community leaders to participate in a statewide education summit to examine the Illinois' teacher shortage and to explore strategies for improving the quality of teaching in Illinois.

The participants in the summit will help develop a legislative agenda for the spring 2002 session.

Recent media reports from data obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education indicate that 70 percent of teachers who fail the basic competency exams and therefore do not have valid Illinois standard or initial certificates are working in the lowest performing schools with the highest levels of poverty.

The recent Title II Teacher Preparation Report Card rates colleges according to their student's pass rate of basic teaching skills. The report is a requirement of the federal government for all colleges who receive money from the federal government for teaching programs Illinois. The report shows that high-poverty schools have a large proportion of teachers who are not required to be fully certified.

"It's not fair for our children who are most in need to be taught by teachers who are also struggling," said Governor Ryan. "We need to develop a statewide strategy to solve the teacher shortage and recruit and retain the best people possible to serve in the most important profession in our society."

The Governor's office and the Joint Education Committee will submit a report to the House Higher Education Committee later this month. The report's findings will frame the discussion at the education summit held during the November veto session. The date and time of the summit will be announced later this month.

Some of the main points that will be discussed at the summit are:

  • Increasing teacher scholarships and loan repayment options

  • Reassessing existing teacher pay structures

  • Increasing teacher preparation program standards

  • Implementing induction and mentoring programs to support new teachers and administrators

  • Creating more alternative certification options

  • Develop sophisticated on-line training and support programs for professional development

This past summer, six "Investing in Teaching" public hearings were held throughout the state hosted by State Farm. Comments were heard from over 650 parents teachers, administrators, higher education faculty, legislators and business and community representatives. The comments from these meetings have been included in the Joint Education Committee's report.

In addition to this Education Summit, Governor Ryan is holding a Math Summit at Northern Illinois University's Naperville Campus on November 8, 2001 to determine how we recruit math teachers and improve the quality of mathematics instruction in Illinois.


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