CHICAGO – June 1, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will strengthen Illinois’ application for federal ‘Race to the Top’ funds. Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Mike Smith (D-Pekin), will revise the certification process for individuals who would like to become school principals.
“We are committed to doing everything we can in Illinois to make sure our students receive the highest quality education possible,” said Governor Quinn. “This law will ensure school principals receive the best training and put us in a good position to receive federal ‘Race to the Top’ funding.”
Under the new law, nonprofit organizations can offer certification and endorsement programs without working in conjunction with an institution of higher learning. Such programs need to be approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and must meet all of the criteria that are required for university-based programs. Senate Bill 226 requires that the State re-accredit all current principal preparation programs to ensure that they meet the new targeted standards.
The law also creates the principal endorsement for individuals who are interested in becoming school principals. Principal training programs will be approved by ISBE and will prepare participants with the skills they need to oversee Illinois’ schools. To receive a principal endorsement, one must have four years of full-time teaching experience and a master’s degree. They must also have successfully completed a principal preparation program.
The legislation was based on recommendations from the School Leadership Task Force, and it will improve the state’s ‘Race to the Top’ application, which is due June 1. The law goes into effect July 1.
‘Race to the Top’ is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ‘Race to the Top’ aims to drive education reform and boost student success principles to which Illinois is deeply committed. States are evaluated based on their commitment to enhancing standards and assessments; improving data collection and use; strengthening teacher and administrator effectiveness; and turning around struggling schools.
Illinois’ application for ‘Race to the Top’ is available online at isbe.state.il.us/racetothetop/default.htm.