Survey suggests Illinois teacher shortage as bad as ever

desks in a classroom
Classroom with desks Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A majority of Illinois public school superintendents in a new survey say the teacher shortage problem is as bad or worse than last year.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools’ sixth annual survey paints a picture of a crisis among the 690 districts that responded (80 percent of the state).

The group’s president, Dr. Mark Klaisner told reporters on a Zoom call about a colleague who recently told him a middle school in rural central Illinois did not have a single teacher with the proper qualifications to teach their subject.

That aligns with survey results showing about one in three job openings for teachers, special education and support staff went unfilled or was filled by someone underqualified.

Sixty-eight percent of superintendents said they had fewer people apply at the start of this school year than the year before.

Among those who did, less than half had the right endorsements for the positions for which they were applying.

That means districts have had to eliminate or go remote for some higher level classes in foreign language, science and math.

Dr. Klaisner says his group wants more funding for districts to further incentivize teachers to get more endorsements, compensation for high-need subjects and scholarships for prospective teachers.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images