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The changes we have waited years for are spreading throughout the nation!

HERE IS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ILLINOIS!

House Bill 4466, allowing the option of specialized special education teacher certification, passed the Illinois House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Thursday on a unanimous vote.

It was supported by many groups (both the IEA and IFT, the School Management Alliance, many special ed groups, etc.) and actively opposed by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Chicago Board of Education.
Strong comments in support were made by both Democrats and Republicans.

Please IMMEDIATELY contact your own State Representative either in Springfield or in their local office. Urge them to vote for House Bill 4466 when it is voted on by the full Illinois House of Representatives.

Special Education Teacher Certification
House Bill 4466

The State Board of Education has issued new teaching certificates to all 48,000 Illinois teachers now holding special education endorsements or approvals. These teachers can be assigned  [either immediately or automatically within 3 years depending on whether on not they have training and previous certification in teaching students with two (2) specific types of disability] to students with any of seven (7) tremendously varying types of disability no matter how severe or complex the disability.

This 7-category "Learning Behavior Specialist" (LBS) is now the ONLY certificate a special education teacher can receive if they wish to teach students with any one of these 7 types of disability.

Just as children need educational options, so do special education teachers. To keep current teachers from leaving special education, and to encourage new teachers to enter special education, Illinois needs to offer these options.

The enactment of this proposal would clearly indicate to the U.S. Court of Appeals the firm commitment by the Illinois General Assembly to provide special education students the specialized teachers they need. There has been no direct involvement by the Illinois General Assembly to the U.S. Court of Appeals in either the Corey H. case or the Reid L. case, which are both before the Court.

Proposal in HB 4466
Change the Teacher Certification section (Article 21) of the School Code to require the State Teacher Certification Board to OFFER THE OPTION to teachers to receive certificates in one or more of the specialized categories of disability (as listed in the Federal special education law - IDEA) to current teachers holding special education endorsements or approvals, and to also offer this option to new teachers.

The seven categories are 
(1) serious emotional disturbance 
(2) learning disabilities 
(3) autism 
(4) mental retardation 
(5) orthopedic [physical]impairment 
(6) traumatic brain injury and 
(7) other health impairment.

As IDEA requires the identification of the child's specific disability, this would align teacher training and certification with the specific needs of the child.

Illinois must do everything possible to attempt to retain current special education teachers, and to encourage new teachers to enter the field. The more options that are available the more likely that will occur. Illinois cannot allow the current situation to continue where special education teachers are leaving the field (or not entering it) because they feel it is impossible for them to be prepared to teach students with seven tremendously varying types of disability at all levels of severity.

 
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