Illinois Schools in Crisis: Over 90% Face Severe Teacher Shortages, Survey Reveals

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois is facing a critical teacher shortage, with a recent survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) and Goshen Education Consulting revealing that over 90% of schools are grappling with a severe lack of qualified educators. This alarming statistic highlights the extent of the crisis affecting the state’s education system, particularly in special education and career technical education sectors.

The comprehensive study, which gathered insights from more than 750 school districts across Illinois, shows an educational system under strain. School leaders are struggling to fill vacancies, with 88% reporting fewer than five applicants for open teaching positions, many of whom lack the necessary credentials. The shortage is most acute in rural areas and certain specializations, causing schools to adopt creative strategies to cope.

Gary Tipsord, IARSS Executive Director, acknowledged the depth of the challenge, attributing it to long-standing issues that cannot be quickly resolved. Despite this, the survey points to a concerted effort by schools and policymakers to find innovative solutions, from improving working conditions to offering financial incentives for educators.

The crisis deepens with 93% of schools struggling to fill substitute teacher positions and 88% of school leaders receiving fewer than five applications for open teaching roles, sometimes none. Special education and career technical education face the sharpest shortages.

The report calls for continued action at the state level, including pension reforms, loan forgiveness, and increased support for teacher preparation programs, to alleviate the pressures of the teacher shortage. As Illinois’ education system faces this unprecedented challenge, the findings of the IARSS survey underscore the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to ensure every child has access to quality education.

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