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Pritzker signs package of legislation to help relieve teacher shortage

Thursday, Apr 28, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Wednesday aimed at easing the state’s shortage of teachers and other education professionals, even as a new report shows Illinois just added a record number of new teachers to its ranks.

Speaking in the library of Springfield High School just blocks from the Capitol, Pritzker said that while the education workforce picture is improving, more work still needs to be done. […]

Pritzker noted that the budget bill he signed into law April 19 increases funding for minority teacher scholarships to $4.2 million. And starting next year, the minimum annual salary for first-year teachers will increase to $40,000 due to a bill he signed in 2019. […]

A survey conducted in 2021 by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found 88 percent of local school districts believed they had a teacher shortage problem while 96 percent reported problems finding enough substitute teachers.

* Fox 32

Illinois has hired more than 5,600 teachers this school year — a figure greater than the number of hires over the more five years combined.,

The state still has about 2,100 unfilled teaching positions across Illinois.

* Tribune

Those vacancies are “concentrated in hard-to-staff schools and subjects,” disparately affecting low-income, bilingual and special education students, Ayala said. An additional 2,400 paraprofessional openings are also vacant, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

“As we look forward, we must continue to root our efforts to strengthen the teaching profession in equity,” Ayala said. “Not all schools and not all students are experiencing teacher staffing issues in the same way.”

State Rep. Sue Scherer, a former teacher who sponsored parts of the legislative package, said the new laws will “make a difference” in classrooms even before the current school year ends. The expansion to allow short-term substitutes to spend 15 consecutive days in a classroom, rather than just five, is effective immediately, as is the reduced license reinstatement fee.

“So many politicians will say education is important, but then when you get to the backroom deals and it’s time to finalize the budget, it’s the first thing cut,” said Scherer, a Decatur Democrat. “It’s heartwarming that people are kind of putting their money where their mouth is.”

* WICS

House Bill 4246

State law currently requires educators to pay a $500 penalty to immediately reinstate a lapsed license. Under House Bill 4246, fees for renewing lapsed educator license will be reduced to $50.

The law is effective immediately.

House Bill 4798

Under current law, substitute teaching candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. House Bill 4798 allows currently enrolled teaching students to obtain additional classroom training by giving them the option to obtain a substitute teaching license if they have completed 90 credit hours.

The law is effective January 1, 2023.

Senate Bill 3988

Currently, the minimum age requirement is 19 for paraprofessional educators who work with students from pre-K to eighth grade. Senate Bill 3988 lowers this age requirement to 18, providing prospective educators with the chance to start a career earlier.

The law is effective January 1, 2023.

Senate Bill 3907

In the event of a disaster declaration, short term substitute teachers are only able to spend 5 consecutive days in the same classroom. Under Senate Bill 3907, this number is increased to 15.

The law is effective immediately.

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21 Comments
  1. - City Zen - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:12 am:

    I knew Tier 2 pensions would eventually lead to an increase in teacher hires.


  2. - DuPage - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:19 am:

    For most new teachers, retirement is the last thing on their minds. A few years in, they take a close look at their retirement plan. Tier1 was an incentive to stay. Tier2 is a strong incentive to leave.


  3. - clr dcn - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:23 am:

    They need to raise the minimum wage for substitute teachers. I stopped that due to the poor pay really bad for what is required.


  4. - Grimlock - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:26 am:

    At least once a year my wife, a teacher, calls a parent to discuss a problem and the parent asks “why are you bothering me?” Sometimes the parent even says “well I’ll ask Junior what his side of the story is” or “you are just bullying Junior and I’m contacting the school board!” If you want to retain the teachers once you hire them, you need administrators and school boards that will back them up.


  5. - Fixer - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:31 am:

    clr dcn, same for paraprofessionals. For the amount of work most of them do, they’re not paid nearly enough. Might help fill some those specific vacancies.


  6. - anon2 - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    Tier II teachers have to work until 67 to receive a full pension and will receive a paltry annual adjustment to their pensions, while paying in the same amount as their tier I colleagues. They aren’t happy when they realize that those colleagues hired prior to 2011 can retire on full pension at age 55 and enjoy an annual pension adjustment of 3%.


  7. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    Tier 2 pensions. When Raymond Poe was able to stump graduate of first rate Catholic and Military colleges (Madigan and David Vaught) about age 67, you knew it would come to this … and worse.


  8. - Jocko - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:43 am:

    ==I knew Tier 2 pensions would eventually lead to an increase in teacher hires.==

    You forgot the /S. Lousy pay downstate, unruly students, demanding parents, AND being asked to hold out until 67? That’s a huge ask.


  9. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:44 am:

    I do not understand why teacher pensions aren’t handed over to something like TIAA-Cref to administer. I would bet it would save the state money and benefit retiring teachers as well.


  10. - anon2 - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:52 am:

    Some of those responsible for creating tier II are still around. They ought to help fix the teacher shortage.


  11. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 11:53 am:

    I’m trying to talk my wife into leaving the profession. It’s not worth the risk of the continual covid exposures that are going to be happening in schools for the rest of her career. Our entire family has covid now and school is the only place we could have gotten it. The disgusting behavior of parents agitating to make schools virus sharing sites by removing all masking and mitigation was the nail in the coffin to me. Let these dumb ingrates teach their own kids.


  12. - OneMan - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    == State law currently requires educators to pay a $500 penalty to immediately reinstate a lapsed license. ==

    Tell me a law is from Illinois without it being from Illinois.


  13. - Friendly Bob Adams - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Multiple teachers in our family so glad to see the state taking some steps to improve the situation.

    But the folks commenting on Tier 2 are not wrong.


  14. - Scooter - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Tier 2 is making retention hard now; if student loan forgiveness occurs at the Federal level (as some think it might) and the ten year payment period for Public Service Loan Forgiveness is no longer an incentive in keeping people in these jobs, expect the bottom to fall out completely. Not just in schools, but at any IL public sector employer where Tier 2 is in effect (i.e., all of them).


  15. - City Zen - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    ==Tier II teachers have to work until 67==

    Imagine being the teacher hired in 2011. Years from now, you’re at the retirement party for all the teachers hired just one year before you but your own retirement party is a dozen years after.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    ===Imagine===

    Life is like that.

    Choices, “fate”, timing…


  17. - Wading in... - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:33 pm:

    I have several friends that are/were teachers. Oh, the stories I’ve heard about unruly kids, uncooperative parents, no support from administrators, etc. Most say that if they had it to do again, they wouldn’t do it because schools have turned into something other than “schools”.


  18. - Proud Papa Bear - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 12:59 pm:

    “ Illinois has hired more than 5,600 teachers this school year — a figure greater than the number of hires over the more five years combined.,”

    When ISBE put out this press release, they failed to mention that they’re using a new reporting tool (the Employment Information System) that, while much more accurate, makes this an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    It’d be like me bragging I went from 20 miles per gallon to 38 and not mentioning I traded my Land Rover in for a Civic.


  19. - Downstate - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 1:05 pm:

    Pay is but one issue. Teaching conditions in the classroom, including:

    unruly students,
    disengaged parents,
    and mandated protocols

    have nearly upended the learning environment.


  20. - Retired - Thursday, Apr 28, 22 @ 3:45 pm:

    I was in education for 35 years. If I was starting out and considering teaching, knowing what I know now, I would not have been a teacher and administrator. I currently discourage anyone considering teaching to rethink that vocation. My three daughters are all teachers and are counting the days until they can retire. Downstate had it precisely


  21. - Zoomer - Friday, Apr 29, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    This is *not* addressing the teacher shortage.

    As mentioned in previous comments, many are leaving the profession. Fewer still are entering it.

    Until the Illinois General Assembly addresses how to keep current teachers in the profession, and until teaching is recognized as a bona fide profession, we cannot fairly claim that we are “addressing the teacher shortage”.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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