Illinois faces growing teacher shortage, study finds – NBC Chicago

Teachers continue to be in high demand in Illinois, with nearly 90% of schools reporting they are experiencing staffing shortages, according to new research released by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.

The study shows that 88% of school districts surveyed in Illinois said they believed they had a shortage of teachers and 96% said they had a shortage of substitute teachers.

“It’s not something we’re going to cure tomorrow and for me the most desperate concern is to provide the best education for our children,” said IARSS President Dr Mark Klaisner.

The IARSS study indicates that possible solutions include encouraging more young people to enter the teaching field and better supporting those who are starting out but may be tempted to leave. The study also recommends expanding programs that recruit and support minorities and those that teach high-need subjects.

“The long-term solutions will be to strengthen the profession and help young people see how rewarding it can be,” Klaisner said.

Education experts have said that in addition to a shortage of teachers in traditional subjects, there is a need for special education and bilingual teachers.

Vince OBrill, a senior at DePaul University, is studying to become a teacher and said students need teachers now more than ever.

“They need a school where they can go see friends, have fun with each other, and be creative,” OBrill said.

Anitria Wilson said she was working on a master’s degree with special education endorsement from National Louis University.

“I think I can make a difference because I’m an aspiring teacher who wants to teach for the long haul,” Wilson said. “I would like this to be my last career.”

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois at Chicago said it is seeing increased enrollment in its teacher license programs.

“Even though there is a shortage nationally and in many districts in Illinois, there seem to be teachers, young people who want to get into teaching to help fill the gaps,” said said Dr. Daniel Maggin of UIC’s Department of Special Education.

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