Study examines Illinois’ dire teacher shortage

Regional News

HILLSIDE, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents released on Monday the results of a study conducted in October of 2020 underscoring the extent of the state’s teacher shortage. It found that 77% of the school districts responding to the survey believe they have a teacher shortage problem and that 86% believe the shortages will remain an issue for the next two years.

Moreover, 93% reported a substitute teacher shortage problem and 86% believe that shortage is worse than in years past.

Additionally, 65% of the districts reported the teacher shortage continues to get worse, 17% have filled teaching positions with someone less than qualified for the job and 36% of districts reported their geographic location as hurting their ability to retain administrators.

Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Educational Policy contributed to the study.

Golden Apple, an Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, supporting, and mentoring aspiring teachers, is working to resolve this crisis by helping prepare future teachers to serve in schools and communities in need.

Golden Apple President Alan Mather said, “Today’s report is sadly no surprise to those of us who work every day to support and prepare future teachers to serve in schools- and districts-of-need. Over the past few years, there’s been a series of taking two steps forward and then one step back; the shortage continues despite programs like our Scholars and Accelerators that are boosting the number of teachers, especially teachers of color, entering Illinois classrooms. We have willing partners in State government who recognize the teacher shortage cliff we face, but Illinois can’t go it alone; the federal government needs to join in this critically important fight for our children’s futures.”

The study suggested a number of strategies to enact change, such as investing state and federal funding in remote learning and technology as hybrid learning may need to continue as a necessary instructional delivery model to provide students with access to hard-to-staff classes.

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