By Janice Cameron, The Chicago Times
March 2, 2022
SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers presented legislation last Thursday that proposes to solve the alarming teacher shortage that is plaguing Illinois.
The proposed legislation will extend the number of days retired teachers would be able to teach within a given school year, lower age restrictions for paraprofessionals, and waive substitute teaching licensing fees.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, there are 4,120 teaching and support vacancies across 852 school districts within the state. The Illinois Association of School Administrators claims that 88 percent of school districts that responded to a recent survey reported a shortage of full-time teachers. Furthermore, the Illinois State Board of Education claims there are 1,242 vacancies for paraprofessionals statewide.
Lawmakers declined to comment if the shortage is related to the rapid decline in population that Illinois has experienced over the past decade, which has cost the State one congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.