SPRINGFIELD -– The shortage of quality teachers in Illinois is expected to significantly increase over the next three to five years, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.
Although 27,000 or one-fifth of the current 155,000 teachers, administrators and school service personnel are eligible to retire this year, that number is expected to increase to one-half over the next three to five years. It is projected that between 56,000 and 73,000 positions will need to be filled. Teacher retention is just one of the challenges facing delegates to the Governor’s Summit on Education, scheduled for November 19 at the Executive Mansion.
“While student enrollments continue to increase, especially at the secondary level, it is imperative that every effort be made to recruit, prepare and retain new and existing teachers in order to meet the demand,” said Governor Ryan.
The Illinois State Board of Education expects a 16 percent increase in middle and high school enrollment, 87,256 students, and a slight increase, 2 percent through 2003 or 32,028 students at the elementary level. As the number of students in the Illinois public school system increases, so will the demand for educators.
There are many factors contributing to the educator turn-over, including retirement, job dissatisfaction, student discipline problems and pursuit of better pay and benefits in other careers.
Retaining qualified teachers is critical to the overall success of the state’s academic programs. In Illinois, up to 50 percent of new teachers leave in the first three to four years. The reasons they give are low salary (24 percent), negative school environment (24 percent) and lack of induction and mentoring support (22 percent). Offering support to new teachers is one approach that is effective in both attracting and retaining teachers.
Delegates to the Governor’s Summit on Education on November 19 will identify key priorities for action to improve educator recruitment, retention, preparation and continuing professional development. Delegates participating in the Summit will be reviewing recommendations to help develop a legislative agenda for the spring 2002 session.