To address the educator shortage that Illinois faces, and a pandemic that has changed the educational experience for all students, Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed Executive Order 2020-31 to help teacher, paraprofessional, and other educator candidates gain licensure and join the workforce. This past October, Illinois schools faced more than 4,800 unfilled positions, including for teachers, social workers, administrators, and paraprofessionals. Executive Order 2020-31 involves two agencies. As recommended by IBHE and ISBE, it waives requirements for those educator candidates who cannot complete normal student teaching, internships, and other pre-licensure exams, including the edTPA, this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both agencies reached out to school districts and colleges for input and suggestions.Teacher candidates who are eligible for these exemptions have already undergone extensive coursework, pre-clinical fieldwork experiences, and a licensure content test to prepare them for the professional educator license. EO 2020-31 also waives certain requirements, such as the Constitution exam and physical fitness test, for eighth graders and high school seniors so they can graduate.
The educator licensure order only affects students who are completing program requirements during the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations period and whose institution verifies that the student could not complete the requirement due to COVID-19. Institutions still have the authority to evaluate the students’ progress in meeting program requirements. ISBE and IBHE will monitor the pandemic situation and make any recommendations for the fall semester as warranted.Refunds are available through Pearson for educators who registered for but have not yet completed the edTPA.

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