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New Teacher Qualification System Ready After Delays
After delays and and glitches, a new teacher certification system is ready to come online in September.
The Illinois Board of Education ordered the change from a certification system to a licensure system back in 2011. Teacher certification is needed to show what subjects or grades a teacher is qualified to teach, but the old system was cluttered and confusing, with 60 separate certifications. The new system would have just three licenses - with additional endorsements - making it easier for administrators, teachers and parents.
"It's more clear for the teachers and the school districts and the public for what a teacher is actually qualified and certified to teach, and the grade levels they're certified and qualified to teach," said Sangamon County Assistant Regional Superintendent Shannon Fehrholz, who helped to roll out the new system.
In short, it's supposed to simplify the system.
At least, once it actuallly comes online.
The Board of Education originally wanted to get the new system off the ground last June, but spokesman Matt Vanover said a variety of factors pushed the start date back.
Hupp Information Technologies, which developed the new system, did make a July 1, 2013 deadline with a few small glitches - and one big one.
"One of the almost 10,000 users was able to see some personal information for other users," said the company's president and CEO, Dean Hupp.
So the system was taken offline the day after it went up, and the past two months have been spent ensuring that glitch is gone for good.
Hupp said the company has been doing the work without further cost to the state, which is good - considering the original $3.2 million contract wasalready expanded to $3.6 million because the board wanted contract employees involved in development - as well as for other reasons.
"Workload, the licensing, and once they got in that there was additional steps that needed to be taken," Vanover said of the additional costs.
Technically the new system is legally in place right now, if not functionally, but Vanover said it shouldn't present a problem for educators as the old certification system is online in the meantime.
"Schools are able to go in and verify that somebody has the proper credentials to do what they need to do; they're able to make the changes that need to be made," Vanover said.
Much of the reason it took so long to switch over is the sheer volume of the records needing to be switched. There are at least several hundred thousand records for educators all across the state.