Middle school certification changes halted

By Gus Bode

Board of education declare change unnecessary

Education students no longer have to worry about the developing changes with middle school certification after the Illinois State Board of Education recently voted against the changes.

The program would give students the chance to have a certification in middle school education. Students currently take two classes to teach middle school and the board decided it will stay that way.

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But before the vote, SIUC, along with other schools in Illinois, received a grant to help develop the new middle school certification program. John McIntyre, associate dean for teacher education and school partnerships, said the board turned down the proposed change for two reasons.

He said budget cuts left some universities unable to pay for the new program and the program would also limit students by focusing only on middle school.

“What is going to happen now is going back to square one,” McIntyre said.

Elvira Torres, a senior in special education from Chicago, has finished the current certification requirements for the middle school certificate. She said the courses are popular among education majors.

“Because you have that advantage of taking just two classes that if you wanted to work at a middle school, you can,” she said. “The more things you have coming out of college, the better chance you have to get a job because you’re more diverse.”

The college was planning to offer the new program by next fall, and faculty were prepared to begin the change at the start of next year, McIntyre said.

“I felt bad for all the people that had worked so hard,” said McIntyre. “We were in the very middle of changing the course catalogue … It would have been bad if it were in the catalogue and then we didn’t have [the program].”

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Kim Little, coordinator of recruitment and retention, said SIUC faculty are still exploring options for students interested in teaching middle school.

“It is a time of change in education,” she said. “It is a change for the better and our faculty is striving to make technology and different aspects needed to teach that age more accessible.”

Reporter Lindsey J. Mastis can be reached at [email protected]

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