Rep. Wheeler statement on new educator licensure standards

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted Wednesday to approve implementation of a proposal from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards to be required for all Illinois professional educator licenses endorsed in teaching, school support personnel, and administrative fields.

JCAR Co-Chairman Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, issued the following statement after the vote:

“I appreciate the enormous amount of feedback that my office received in recent weeks from literally thousands of residents from the Fox Valley and across the entire State of Illinois concerning this policy. The initial introduced version of the proposal was a vast overreach that would introduce politically progressive concepts that don’t belong as a mandate.  ISBE listened to the concerns expressed by myself and others and agreed to modify the standards, which I appreciate. Specifically, the standards were amended to require prospective educators to demonstrate understanding and appreciation of a “balance of viewpoints” instead of “progressive viewpoints”, an improvement that teachers and parents of all stripes can appreciate. Despite this, the final version remains an overreach far beyond the state’s basic role of licensing qualified educators. The fact is, Illinois continues to face a teacher shortage. According to ISBE, there are 4,500 unfilled teaching positions in Illinois. We should support and encourage our aspiring young men and women seeking to become an educator, not force additional, politically-motivated requirements on them in order to get licensed.”

Rep. Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of Aurora, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.