As many as 5,000 middle school teachers in Chicago could be required to go back to school for additional training to continue teaching under a plan expected to be approved by the Board of Education this week.
Under the proposal, 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade teachers would be asked to gain an “endorsement” noting they are qualified for specific subjects at those grade levels, said Xavier Botana, head of elementary education for the Chicago Public Schools.
While teachers must be state-certified to teach in the district, currently neither the district nor the state requires teachers to gain the additional credential for classes such as math, English and science. Chicago is following many other districts in toughening requirements, officials said.
Botana said that while potentially 5,000 middle school teachers are affected, many already may have the necessary credits.
“Going forward, all of our kids in 6th through 8th grades will be taught by somebody who has a deeper level of content area knowledge than what is currently required,” he said. “We need to aim higher.”
Mary McClure, a Chicago Teachers Union official, said the union supports the move and has been working with the district to make sure teachers have enough time to take the classes.