Hacks and Incidents

New teacher licensing system full of glitches

New teacher licensing system full of glitches: Just hours after the state launched a new, multimillion-dollar teacher licensing system last year, an educator logging in was shocked to find a serious security breach.

“I discovered that by doing a public search using any educator’s name, ALL of our personal information is available to everyone. This is alarming!” the educator emailed to a colleague. “I was able to put in your name and find out your address, phone number, and Social Security.”

During the months ahead, the glitch-prone system that has been compared to the Obama administration’s troubled Affordable Care Act website incorrectly labeled one educator a felon. Others were mistakenly listed as delinquent on child support, which could block them from getting a license, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

In late January, the Illinois State Board of Education abruptly canceled its $3.6 million contract with the company hired to build the system. That sparked a dispute over unpaid bills that remains unresolved.

The agency continues to withhold about $1.1 million of the contract for what it believes to be incomplete work. “We don’t intend to make any more payments,” agency spokeswoman Mary Fergus said.

The security problems, which surfaced last July, spurred the state board to shut down the licensing system after just 26 hours online and notify the General Assembly of a breach.

Standard