COVID-19 school building closure jeopardized thousands of teacher licensure renewals
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Education Association (IEA) announced in a video on Facebook today that teachers and paraprofessionals can earn Professional Development clock hours for time spent transitioning from in-person learning to remote learning. Thousands of educators from across the state will now be able to use those clock hours to meet state licensure requirements.
“This is not just about giving credit where credit is due. We know the transition to remote learning continues to require an enormous amount of work from our educators as they plan and facilitate learning with their students, and we’re glad that’s being recognized,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “This is also about keeping our education system running this fall. Many of our teachers were in danger of not having enough clock hours to renew their state licenses, which would mean fewer licensed teachers for our students. We knew we had to do something to fight the statewide teacher shortage and protect our students’ access to a public education.”
Traditionally, school districts across the state would offer professional development days so teachers and paraprofessionals could earn the clock hours necessary to renew their licenses. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis and the school building closures, those professional development opportunities are canceled.
Thousands of teachers stand to be impacted by this decision. According to data from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), here are the numbers of K-12 licenses of IEA members set to expire by year:
|YEAR||NUMBER OF IEA TEACHER/PARAPROFESSIONAL LICENSES SET TO EXPIRE|
To help remedy that situation, ISBE has agreed to allow the IEA to provide credit to its members for the hours they spent learning new tools to provide remote learning opportunities to students. Educators would need to earn those clock hours between March 17 and May 29.
“We are so happy the IEA will be able to make sure our members get credit for the endless hours spent learning new software programs, working tirelessly with colleagues converting lessons to remote learning plans and participating in many online training opportunities to transition to remote learning.,” Griffin said.
Teachers interested in applying for professional development clock hours through the IEA should go to the online remote learning request form on the IEA website. All requests for clock hours must be submitted by June 15. The deadline for teachers and paraprofessionals to renew their state license is August 31.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.