Lightford110917Concerns over difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers in Illinois compelled Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) and other members of the Senate Education Committee to hold a hearing to learn about the problem and explore possible solutions.

“Attracting quality educators to our state is vital to our education system and providing our children with the best possible education. We need to offer teachers support for things they were not taught to deal with in school, provide mentoring opportunities, identify districts with higher needs that have a harder time attracting teachers and work to strengthen the high school-to-classroom pipeline,” Lightford said.

Those who testified at the hearing explained that teachers often overlook Illinois when searching for employment due to low starting salaries, licensure difficulties, and lack of mentoring among other issues.

“This hearing verified the need to not approach the statewide teacher shortage without looking at it from a student standpoint. This is a structural challenge we need to address,” Lightford said. “We need to do a better job marketing the teaching profession on every level and make sure we solve the issues deterring teachers from choosing Illinois as a place to advance their careers.”

Numerous education professionals offered testimony at Monday’s hearing about the reasons for the shortage and possible solutions.

Those who addressed the committee included Decatur Public Schools Superintendent Paul Fregeau; Jason Helfer of the Illinois State Board of Education; representatives of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association and the Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants; Anna Quinzio-Zafran of the National Board Resource Center; Diane Rutledge of the Large Unit District Association; and others.

Category: News

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