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Will Illinois’ new education law fix the state’s teacher shortage?

by Sharita Forrest / May 8, 2018

Chris Roegge

Chris Roegge, the executive director of the Council on Teacher Education, a unit within the College of Education, recently spoke with Illinois News Bureau education editor Sharita Forrest about a new education law in Illinois that makes it easier for out-of-state applicants to become substitute teachers, as well as other education-related bills being considered by Illinois lawmakers.

Roegge commented on Senate Bill 863, just signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, which makes it easier for teachers with out-of-state credentials to get Illinois teaching licenses. The bill has been heralded by supporters as a stopgap solution to a teaching shortage in Illinois, which Roegge feels is a nuanced issue.

“Teachers are not in short supply everywhere in Illinois or in every subject area or grade level,” Roegge said. “Shortages are concentrated in large urban and small rural districts. Math, science, special education, and English as a second language/bilingual are areas of consistent need. More affluent districts might have hundreds of applicants for open positions, while other districts have none.”

Roegge added in the interview that student debt remains a big issue, especially for graduates who will begin working in jobs that are comparatively low paying. He said institutions and legislators will need to collaborate on strategies to address the costs of entering teaching, including general college costs and those specifically associated with teacher preparation.

Read the full interview by the Illinois News Bureau.

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer