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Illinois looks to addresses statewide teacher shortage

Illinois is facing a statewide teacher shortage. Several steps are being taken to address the problem.
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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois- Schools across Illinois are missing an essential ingredient for education- teachers. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, there are 2,894 unfilled education jobs in Illinois. In the Rock Island county there are 28 unfilled education positions. Multiple steps have been taken across the state to address the teacher shortage in Illinois.

A bill passed in the Illinois Senate will expand MAP grants to apply to those with bachelor degrees or 135 semester credit hours. To qualify, applicants must enroll in an education program and teach in Illinois for a minimum of five years.

MAP grants are grants to Illinois residents which don’t need to be paid back. Advocates for the bill hope by incentivizing studying education with MAP grants, more people will be able to pursue careers as teachers.

The bill passed through the Senate on April 10. It’s now waiting to make it through the Illinois House of Representatives.

Legislation isn’t the only solution to the teacher shortage. The Illinois State Board of Education is also hoping to address the issue. On April 17 the ISBE will hold video conferences with interested parties across the state. According to the meeting agenda they will discuss teacher preparation, teacher licensure, induction and mentoring, and teacher evaluation.

Anyone can listen to the meeting online.

Locally, a job fair aimed at teachers will try to bring school districts looking for teachers with teachers on the hunt for a job. The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency and the Regional Office of Education will host a job fair April 15 at 729 21st Street in Bettendorf, according to a press release. Representatives from Iowa and Illinois schools will be present. There will also be licensure information for Iowa and Illinois.

Schools with teacher shortages still do the best they can to bring quality education. Be sure to thank a teacher the next time you see one.