NLU was honored today to have Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn sign the Alternative Certification Bill (SB1845) into law during a visit at Chicago campus. Citing education as the state’s number one priority, Gov. Quinn stressed the importance of teachers in this effort.
“Teachers are really our heroes,” he said. “They sacrifice some of their present for our students’ future.”
The bill was written in response to new licensure rules for alternative teacher certification programs that require them to go through a new development and approval process in order to operate in Illinois. The new law extends the sunset deadlines for older alt cert programs, creating more time for new programs to go through the Illinois State Board of Education approval process.
Gov. Quinn was introduced by NLU President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D. NLU partnered with Benedictine University and Dominican University to play a key role in helping to get the new law passed.
“NLU’s commitment to certification of teachers is a wonderful symbol of our 127-year history of successful innovation in teacher preparation programs,” said Dr. Megahed.
She added that alt cert programs help fill teacher shortages in areas such as math, science, bilingual education and special education. The people who enter these programs often leave higher-paying jobs to follow their passion and become teachers. Helping them achieve their dream is important not only for them but for students in need.
The Governor and Dr. Megahed were joined today by Donna Carroll, President of Dominican University; John Zigmond, Director of Benedictine University’s Alternative Certification Program; and state Rep. Laura Fine, a sponsor of the bill.
Gov. Quinn added that the bill was passed unanimously in the state house and senate — a sign that no matter the political affiliation, education is viewed as a critical investment in bettering lives and in future job creation.
“I think it’s a recognition by folks in the legislature, both parties,” he said, “that we better make sure that we do everything possible in Illinois to promote education and the teachers who are indispensable in that process.”