Education organizations announce new coalition, Teachers for Illinois’ Future, to address teacher shortage and elevate the teaching profession

Posted on February 12, 2018

SPRINGFIELD (Feb. 12, 2018) – A diverse coalition of teachers, K-12 administrators, higher education institutions, and advocacy organizations have come together to call on leaders to address the state’s urgent need to increase the number of teachers and to elevate the teaching profession in 2018 and beyond.

The coalition, Teachers for Illinois’ Future: Investing in teachers for all students today and tomorrow, has a vision that all students, especially those who need the most, have access to the teachers they need to prepare them for college and career.

Over the last decade, the supply of future Illinois teachers has tightened. This shortage varies by region and subject area and is most acute outside of the Chicagoland area in rural and suburban districts. The subjects where this shortage is most severe include special education, bilingual, high school STEM, and career and technical education. To view unfilled teacher positions by district, and to see how the shortage affects our most vulnerable students, visit coalition member Advance Illinois’ interactive data visualization here.

“The supply of quality teaching candidates simply isn’t meeting the demand– especially in rural Southern Illinois. We must think outside the box to draw more people into the profession. The numbers are getting worse every year,” said Chuck Lane, Superintendent of Centralia High School.

The teacher shortage is impacting all students in all regions of the state. Schools hire substitute teachers in lieu of fulltime teachers, cancel classes, and convert classes to online instruction. Tia Taylor, a Teach Plus fellow and kindergarten teacher said,?“We have failed our students when we can’t provide them with a consistent, quality education.?How can we expect our students to succeed when we can’t recruit and retain the teachers that they need?”

The Teachers for Illinois’ Future coalition is a collaborative effort to:

  • Ensure students have the teachers they need in order to learn.
  • Support teachers’ growth from exploration of profession and throughout their career.
  • Increase the respect for and the desirability of the teaching profession.
  • Provide school and program leaders with systemic flexibility to meet their students’ needs.

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Teachers for Illinois’ Future is a campaign led by Advance Illinois, Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, Equity First Superintendents, Northern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, and Teach Plus.

Contacts: Bob Dolgan, Advance Illinois, Cell: 773.447.1980, Email: bdolgan@advanceillinois.org

Anna Schneider, Advance Illinois, Cell: 217.242.9645, Email: aschneider@advanceillinois.org