The State Board of Education recently published a report on the issue of a teacher shortage in Illinois.
State Schools Superintendent Tony Smith says it starts with money problems. He notes that 90-percent of teaching vacancies last year were in struggling districts.
“There’s a critical shortage of teachers in Illinois’ classrooms, and we need to have a broad response, in multiple areas,” Smith said.
The ISBE’s report cites the importance of offering more mentoring and on-the-job support for Illinois teachers. There is also a big need for bilingual, special education and minority teachers.
“I think you’ll see some more specific recommendations that specifically address diversity in the teacher workforce,” Smith said.
Smith says there is also a need for new ways to test prospective teachers besides the current academic proficiency test.
Smith says the ISBE wants to explore innovative ways to get more people into teaching, such as reducing bureaucracy for professionals to become teachers.