Illinois is experiencing a devastating teacher shortage. It is felt the hardest in Central and Southern Illinois where 89% and 92% of area superintendents, respectively, report staffing problems.
Last year, 20% of posted teaching positions went unfilled. Almost all schools report a shortage of substitute teachers as well. The shortage is most severe for school psychologists and social workers, library media specialists, foreign language and bilingual education teachers, computer science teachers, Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, and special education teachers.
In 2019, a new law imposed a minimum teacher salary of $40,000, which will be gradually phased in by 2023. It sends a powerful message to students considering a career in teaching that teachers are valued as the professionals they are. The law also waived the requirement that teacher candidates pass a test of basic skills.
As policymakers consider further changes – perhaps to expand alternative certification, create student loan forgiveness programs, or provide more mentoring and support to new teachers, Stand aims to strike the right balance between removing barriers for great potential teachers and ensuring a high bar for quality for the most important profession on Earth.