What does HB 2374 actually do?
There is a crisis in the early childhood care field:
Centers are closing (even with waiting lists).
We can’t hire enough qualified teachers to keep centers open.
Because of an outdated DCFS regulation.
House Bill 2374 does two things:
- Provides another pathway for teacher certification in the ECE field.
- Changes opener and closer requirements in centers.
(1) Providing another pathway for teacher certification:
HB2374 increases standards by replacing the random six hours of required early childhood coursework with the Gateways Level 1 Credential. This gives the knowledge and skills essential for teaching young children. It also allows a teacher assistant to gain experience under a mentor-teacher to become teacher-qualified so long as they enroll in coursework to gain education and credentials.
ISBE agrees. In fact, ISBE did something similar two years ago.*
(2) Allowing experienced teachers to open or close programs.
Directors are burning out due to having to be in their centers from open to close. HB 2374 allows a teacher-qualified individual with 2 years of experience to open or close a center.
*In 2018, ISBE stated they would be working with partners across Illinois to streamline pathways into the teaching profession for P-12 and post secondary institutions. ISBE said these local pathways may help diversify the teaching corps and alleviate regional pipeline concerns. For example, ISBE decided to focus on alternative license as a strategy. Public Act 100-0645 makes changes to who can teach in Preschool For All (PFA)classrooms.
Between 2017 and 2023, educators who hold one of the two following credentials and are working towards a Professional Educator License can teach in a PFA program:
1) A Gateways ECE Credential Level 5
2) An Educator License with Stipulations with a Transitional Bilingual Educator endorsement and have either passed the ECE content test or have completed at least 9 semester hours of ECE coursework.