Lawmakers request the State Board of Education turns in its research to help address the shortage in just a few months. A group of Senators sent a letter, hopefully to speed up the process.
Members of the Senate Education Committee are asking for ISBE to give the crisis more attention. They would like them to hand over their report of findings and recommendations by March 1.
Initially, ISBE said it could take up to a year to turn the reports in. The findings will include information about pay disparities, what went wrong to create the crisis and how to get more qualified teachers into the classroom.
Lawmakers say, with more than 2,000 teacher vacancies in the state, they can’t wait much longer.
A few days ago there was this in the Peoria Journal Star:
According to a 2015-16 school year survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 75 percent of districts surveyed had fewer qualified candidates than in previous years, especially in rural districts and those in central and northwest Illinois.
Furthermore, 16 percent of schools canceled programs or classes because of the lack of teachers — mostly special education, language arts, math and science classes.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, there are currently 2,013 unfilled positions in the state. The total includes teachers, administrative staff and school support staff.
I could write a dozen or more posts on the reasons for the state’s teacher shortage.
Actually, I have written them.
State Senators like Andy Manar are calling for easing the licensing procedures, but remains silent on Illinois’ use of edTPA, an expensive and educationally unsound pre-teaching scam run as a profit center for Pearson.
Compared to when I first started teaching, evaluation procedures have been developed, with support from the state’s teacher unions, that are demoralizing and de-professionalizing.
The teacher shortage crisis is not helped by the continuing threats to pensions for incoming teachers.
A recent report shows Illinois is facing a teacher shortage. But changes to teachers’ pensions — including cutbacks on the state’s share of contributions — spells uncertainty for anyone going into the profession.
When the Illinois General Assembly approved a budget last summer, they also agreed to cut back on about $500 million to the state’s pension system. This might sound like a good idea if the money is allocated to pay for other needs in the immediate future. For teachers, however, it means the state might not be able to cover their pensions.
Richard Ingram, executive director for the Teachers’ Retirement System, says these pension changes will only exacerbate the state’s teacher shortage. “Kids that are coming out of school today, that want to be teachers… are getting the message that hey–if you go and teach in Illinois, you can forget about the certainty of a future pension and you’re going to overpay for it,” he says.
Teachers contribute nine percent of their salary to their funds– but only seven percent is used. The additional two percent is “subsidized” to cover some of what goes into Tier 1, Ingram says. This is money Tier 2 members will never see.
The teachers’ retirement system is the largest of Illinois’ five pension system. Together they totaled close to $130 billion in unfunded liabilities.