As we wrote recently, we were pretty discouraged about a new law in Illinois that removed the state's long-held requirement that aspiring teachers must pass a basic skills test before they are eligible to be admitted to a teacher preparation program. The new law now lets institutions go ahead and admit candidates who fail the test, as long as they pass it before they begin their student teaching experience, often the last semester of college.
But something has cheered us up a bit. According to the Chicago Tribune's coverage of the now-weakened law, a bunch of institutions are taking the high ground and have pledged not to relax their own requirements for admission. They recognize the law's potential harm, passed in a misguided attempt to keep the profession diverse, because it will almost certainly allow institutions to collect several semesters of tuition from unqualified wannabe teachers--and then at the last minute kick those out who can't pull off a passing score.
For some of the right-minded institutions, like Northwestern and Loyola, it wasn't that hard of a decision, since they are unlikely to admit many college students who can't pass the basic skills test. But it takes real guts for the less selective institutions on this list such as Northern Illinois, National Louis and, in particular, Northeastern who also seem to have made this decision.
Good on them. We hope their colleagues at other institutions follow suit.