Report Shows Teacher Vacancies in Illinois Hit Minority Communities Hard

Report Shows Teacher Vacancies in Illinois Hit Minority Communities Hard
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Report Shows Teacher Vacancies in Illinois Hit Minority Communities Hard (via The Center Square) — Advance Illinois President Robin Steans is calling attention to the way she feels things aren’t adding up for all students in the state’s education system.

“I think there are a few things that are going on that make it more likely that Black and Latino students and students that come from low-income homes are disproportionately impacted by teacher shortages,” Steans told The Center Square. “First, they are more likely to be in schools that are in underfunded districts and underfunded districts are harder to staff.”

Some districts may not be able to offer competitive salaries, something Steans said means a poorly funded district is less likely to have the full staffing structure that makes the job of a classroom teacher more doable.

“The day-to-day working conditions a teacher is contending with can be much more challenging,” she said.

Stean’s latest push comes after a new watchdog report found that minority students and those from low-income households face school vacancy levels more than two times greater than the rest of the state. “The State of Our Educator Pipeline 2023” report also details how school districts across the state are struggling to fill special education and bilingual teaching positions, again with the overall impact having a disproportionate effect on Black and Latino students.

Overall, 35% of Black and 22% of low-income students in Illinois now reside in high vacancy districts, compared to just 8% of white students.

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“I mean, those are just unacceptable disparities,” added Steans, whose plan for change calls for switching up the way things are done at state and local level

“First, we need to continue to fully fund the K-12 school funding, evidence based formula,” she said. “Those dollars are the dollars that districts can use to both increase salaries and fully staff schools. It matters enormously that teachers be in a fully staffed school so that their children are getting that support and so are they as teachers.”

Steans adds a growing number of young people are now expressing interest in teaching and a recent study found that the sooner they formally enter the profession the more likely they are to remain in the classroom assisting others.

“I think the work that we’re doing in middle and high school with these pathways is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about teaching,” she said. “I think this effort to create these pathways is a very big idea. It’s a wonderful pipeline, a much more diverse pipeline and the state’s got to continue to invest in these efforts.”

Report Shows Teacher Vacancies in Illinois Hit Minority Communities Hard

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