) — The latest proposal to solve Illinois’ teacher shortage could have schools, once again, looking across the state line.
Illinois schools need teachers. Every fall, school districts say they can’t find enough qualified, licensed teachers to fill their classrooms. The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-2018 school year started with about 2,000 open teaching positions across the state.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, about a year ago, signed a reciprocity law that will cut some of the red tape to allow teachers in Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, and Wisconsin an easier time finding work here.
State Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, wants to add to that law. His proposal would expand the list of acceptable previous work experience to get an Illinois license.
“If they’re teaching already in another state, why do they need to walk through the hoops to get them so they can teach here?” Bennett asked. “The hoops could be several classes, it could take two months or more. Why do we do this?”
Bennett’s idea is to add another state’s ‘qualified teacher prep program’ to the list of acceptable previous work experience to get an Illinois license.
“If they are already teaching, let’s get them on the books,” Bennett said. “Let’s get them registered and let’s get them into the classroom, which is where we need them at.”
Bennett’s districts bumps up against the Indiana border, and he says his local school leaders would love to be able to recruit teachers there.
Illinois’ last teacher reciprocity law passed with unanimous support in the legislature.
Written by Benjamin Yount. Yount, an industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois statewide issues for INN. Yount also hosts Watchdog Radio, a daily radio show on Cities 92.9 in Bloomington/Normal.
The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.