Students across Illinois are ready to come back to school in a few weeks, but there may not be enough teachers in some areas to greet them.

Emily Fox, the Illinois State Board of Education’s Division Administrator for Educator Effectiveness, said the state is about 1,000 teachers short to start the next school year.

“Our most recent data shows that more than 1,000 teaching positions remain unfilled,” Fox said. “I know that doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the total number of teachers in Illinois, which is about 130,000. But these open positions are often concentrated in small schools and districts in rural areas.”

Chad Hoesman, the assistant regional superintendent in Macoupin County, said schools in central and southern Illinois are scrambling to hire teachers ahead of the first day of school.

“From what we understand is, every single area on the list is facing a shortage,” Hoesman said. “Everything from elementary ed teachers to high school PE teachers, there’s a shortage right now.”

Hoesman said prospective teachers, if they have their teaching license and they passed their basic skill test, can essentially name the community where they want to work.

Both Hoesman and Fox blame Illinois’ teacher shortage on a number of factors, including that there are too few young teachers coming out of college. And, they say, enticing new teachers to smaller communities in rural parts of Illinois is sometimes tough.


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