State lawmaker aims to fill empty teaching jobs

Local News

ILLINOIS — A state lawmaker says it’s time to do something about the teacher shortage. Last week state Senator Dale Righter (R – Mattoon) submitted a bill he hopes will turn things around. He says it’s too hard to become a teacher in Illinois. 

Right now high school and college students trying to become teachers have two ways to get a license. They need composite scores of 22 on the ACT or 1110 on the SAT, or a passing score on the Academic Proficiency (TAP)/Basic Skills Test.

Righter wants to add a third option. His bill proposes a new GPA requirement. Righter says students who maintain a 3.0 out 4.0 in their core education classes in college should be able to get a license. He says it’s a chance to get away from measuring potential teachers by test scores.

He says, “It seems to me that how they do in education classes is a far more relevant and recent signal of how good of a teacher they would be than whether or not they scored a certain score on a standardized test that wasn’t designed to measure teacher aptitude in the first place.” 

Righter says the result of that approach would be better teachers – and eventually more teachers. A report from “Teacher of Tomorrow” says nearly 6,400 teacher jobs in Illinois are vacant.

The senator says what the state requires of aspiring teachers is a major reason for that. He hopes the senate will take action on the bill in session later this month.

State lawmakers are already working to fill empty teaching jobs. In January the governor signed a bill to attract out of state teachers. The goal was to make Illinois teaching licenses more accessible to teachers in other states.

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