November 7, 2017

Over-regulation blamed for teacher shortage in Illinois

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

One of the main focuses of the Illinois State Board of Education in the coming year is going to be accounting for the shortage of teachers. A reform advocate says the state needs to change how they qualify a hirable teacher.

In a call about the state’s latest update to their school district data, State Superintendent Tony Smith said that Illinois needs to address the state’s shortage of educators in the coming year.

"In the Midwest in particular, there is a significant teacher shortage," he said. "We have to take good care of the teachers we have and really be looking at how we get others in the profession."

Illinois requires not only a four-year degree but also a separate teacher training program and then a number of additional exams to be a teacher. It is also difficult for a teacher to use out-of-state experience to qualify for a position in a local school in Illinois.

Jeanne Allen, founder of the Center for Education Reform, said the additional steps that a teacher here has to take, creates an artificial shortage.

"You constrain the supply by requiring traditional bureaucratic certification that doesn’t necessarily mean a teacher is a quality person or quality educator in the classroom," she said. "You’re heavily reliant on union contracts that dictate who can teach, how long they can stay there, and how they’re evaluated."

The state recently relaxed its requirements on becoming a teacher or allowing out-of-state teachers to teach here.

The working conditions don’t seem to be a problem. A recent WalletHub study ranked the state as one of the best in the nation to be a teacher.