Retirees could help solve teacher shortage

Illinois Capitol News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– While the state still faces a shortage of teachers,
one of several solutions out of the capitol to help it end it just became a law.
Districts in Central Illinois could see more teachers coming because of it.

A 2019 study by regional superintendents around the state found that 89 percent of school districts in Central Illinois reported problems hiring qualified teachers last year.

Legislation Governor Pritzker signed into law will allow retired teachers in downstate Illinois to re-enter classrooms as teachers without affecting their retirement pensions.

The bill’s Senate sponsor Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant said in a statement: “Our retired teachers should not be penalized for returning to classrooms to help our school districts meet their needs.”

35-year teaching veteran and Illinois Retired Teacher Association president Roger Hampton says long-term substitutes have been stepping up to help fill the void but retired teachers would be a better solution.

“It would just create a level of expertise that you would not have with a substitute teacher by doing this. You also would not have a teacher in and out of the classroom. You would have that retired teacher making that commitment for this whole semester and that for the student I think is big,” said Hampton. “I think in light of the current situation, it’s a win-win not just for retired teachers but for the students of today.”

Some subjects like Special Education are experiencing a shortage statewide.
Leaders hope people who have a background in these areas will come back to help out.

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