Illinois schools continue to struggle with teacher shortage

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GREENVIEW, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Greenville School District has about 275 students from kindergarten through high school, and even they have a hard time filling classrooms with teachers right now.

“I talked to a guy down at Carbondale right Southern Illinois University Carbondale, they’re gonna graduate eight science teachers this year,” Greenview Superintendent Ryan Heavner said. “And that’s not enough teachers for what we need in the state of Illinois. So as us as greenview School District going out looking for quality people, it’s going to be a battle.”

A yearly survey of superintendents in the state found that over 75 percent of districts have a teacher shortage problem. Heavner pitched his solution to the state board of education last month. He wants more licensure programs that don’t require people to sit in college classrooms for years.

“A school district can give that person the training to make them effective teacher in the classroom where they don’t have to spend a couple years at university,” Heavner said. “And I kind of think right now, it’s all hands on deck.”

Heavner has several teachers at his school that took alternative paths to teaching, and they agree that those programs are the way to fix the problem.

“I already had my degree. I already handled management of employees pretty well, which transitioned well to classroom management,” Jeff Hall, an English teacher at Greenview, said. “It was just the time spent in school getting your teaching certificate.”

More alternative prorams means changing the state’s standards for teaching licenses. Heavner believes the change will lead to a whole new wave of passionate teaching candidates.

“That makes a difference to kids when they have somebody that cares about them wants to be in a classroom, and then also has knowledge of content,” Heavner said. “That is that is a little different than what a teacher would get in their college programming.”

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