* Capitol News Illinois on the teacher shortage…
Education researchers in Illinois say the reasons for the teacher shortage are numerous and complex, but it boils down to the fact that there are more veteran teachers around the state retiring or leaving the profession than there are new teachers coming out of university schools of education.
James Anderson, dean of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Education, said in an interview that for a variety of reasons, including the cost of a college education and the salaries teachers earn after graduating, teaching has become a less attractive career than many other professions.
“You graduate from high school, you come to college to become a teacher, you borrow a significant amount of money along the way, then you go into the profession with a very low salary,” he said. “And then you try to pay off your student debt and perform your job as a teacher. And that’s a very difficult invitation to accept.”
The minimum wage for a teacher in Illinois is $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year and is scheduled to increase under state law to $40,000 by the 2023-2024 school year.
An analysis of the survey results showed a strong correlation between the severity of the shortage and the average teacher salary in a given district. As teacher salaries increase, superintendents report less of a problem with teacher shortages.
In other words, treat your people well and make sure they can earn a decent living.
The full survey is here.
…Adding… Press release…
Golden Apple, an Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, supporting, and mentoring aspiring teachers, is working to resolve this crisis. Golden Apple prepares future teachers to serve in schools and communities in need, resulting in not only adding more teachers to our classrooms, but also increasing diversity within the profession. Over half of Golden Apple’s Scholars are teachers of color, compared to only 15% of Illinois teachers statewide.
Golden Apple President Alan Mather released the following statement re the report:
“Today’s report is sadly no surprise to those of us who work every day to support and prepare future teachers to serve in schools- and districts-of-need. Over the past few years, there’s been a series of taking two steps forward and then one step back; the shortage continues despite programs like our Scholars and Accelerators that are boosting the number of teachers, especially teachers of color, entering Illinois classrooms. We have willing partners in State government who recognize the teacher shortage cliff we face, but Illinois can’t go it alone; the federal government needs to join in this critically important fight for our children’s futures.”