Qualified Educators Are Needed as Illinois Suffers from a Teacher Shortage
The teacher shortage in Illinois has been a serious, growing problem affecting every subject area and region in the state over several years. In 2018, a report by WQAD-TV (Moline) reported that at least 80 percent of Illinois school districts reported shortages. As a result, schools have been forced to cancel programs, increase class sizes or use teachers who are not fully licensed in a particular subject area. To reverse this trend, actions have been taken by state representatives in 2019 and 2020 to address salary, the basic skills test and other qualifications, as Illinois universities and colleges, including Saint Xavier University, prepare future teachers for a promising career.
Increased Salary Potential
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that went into effect on January 1, 2020, which would increase the minimum salary for K-12 teachers to $32,076 for 2020-21, progressively climbing to $40,000 by 2023-24. This minimum salary increase for teachers is the first in decades, significantly increasing the previous minimum numbers ranging from $9,000 to $11,000.
No More Basic Skills Test
In 2019, a legislation was passed to remove the basic skills test required to earn an Illinois Professional Educator License. This action was taken to open the field of potential teachers, including former student teachers who failed to pass their prior tests. This move also means that potential teachers no longer must submit ACT, SAT or TAP scores to the Illinois State Board of Education prior to testing for their license.
Being a Qualified Teacher Matters
Illinois school districts deem it important to have qualified teachers who have the appropriate licensures to teach. With that being said, it is reported that school districts are feeling more inclined to ask retired teachers to return part time as substitutes because of their qualifications. This trend further illustrates that schools need to fill positions with qualified, licensed teachers who strive to utilize their education to enrich the lives of their students and, in turn, enrich their own lives in the process.
Opportunities for New Teachers
As Fox Business reported at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year, Illinois school districts had more than 4,000 unfilled jobs with over 1,800 of those being teaching positions. With an increase to minimum salary, schools are expecting to encourage new, qualified teachers who not only have attained an Illinois Professional Educator License, but also hold a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, to apply for positions.
Earn your MAT 100-percent online!
Saint Xavier University offers a 100-percent online Traditional Elementary Education Graduate Program (MAT in Elementary Education) for Illinois residents across the state. Through this program, you can work toward completing your MAT degree in the comfort of home, while the curriculum prepares you for your Illinois Professional Educator License with an endorsement to teach students grades 1-6. With this option, you’ll be well-prepared to take the next step to becoming an elementary school teacher.