Shawn Walsh on Will County Dealing with Teacher Shortage

Shawn Walsh on Will County Dealing with Teacher Shortage

Shawn Walsh on Will County Dealing with Teacher Shortage (Will County, IL) – Shawn Walsh views it as crystal clear and critical the challenges associated with educator shortages nationwide. They are now impacting districts in his area in a very real way.

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“This is no longer a potential crisis. It is impacting schools in our region on a daily basis,” said Walsh, Will County Regional Office of Education superintendent.

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The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), the leaders of Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service Centers in all 102 Illinois counties, partnered with Goshen Education Consulting and Illinois for a fall 2021 survey of more than 660 school districts statewide on the key questions around the depth and consequences of Illinois’ teacher shortage crisis.

Overview Highlights

The overview highlights include a significant teacher shortage along with COVID-19 effects on students and staff causing classroom disruptions and cancellation. With no quick fixes available for such a large issue, superintendents predicted this title wave could last for the next two full school years. Almost 80 percent of the school district superintendents responded to the survey.  The Will County Regional Office of Education serves the 29 school districts. Based on the district administrators in Will County that responded here are some of the staggering numbers.

-100% have a current substitute teacher shortage

– 100% are concerned about the future substitute teacher shortage

– 85% are concerned about a future teacher shortage

-76% believe the teacher shortage is getting worse

– 71% believe they have a current teacher shortage

“Because of the teacher shortage, there have been situations where schools are unable to fill a teaching position and have hired full-time substitutes or retired teachers to cover that classroom until a permanent hire could be found,” said Walsh. “The lack of qualified teachers may result in larger class sizes and the cancellation of elective courses at the high school and middle school grade levels.”

A Problem for Years

While this has been a problem years in the making, the pandemic escalated the situation. 

“The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the educational system. As a result of the required quarantines in place for positive cases and close contacts, districts have struggled to fill classrooms and some districts have been forced to utilize an emergency day due to bus driver and food service personnel shortages,” added Walsh.  “There have been scenarios where building administration was covering classes because of the shortage of substitute teachers. In my opinion, I believe the pandemic has resulted in some educators retiring earlier than they originally planned. These early retirements will further strain the teacher shortage because there are not enough candidates to replace these educators.”

The district is trying various things to combat the statistics and find ways to mitigate the problem. Through its professional development alliance, the Will County Regional Office of Education has hosted several short-term substitute training. In addition, officials are actively promoting professional learning opportunities on social media.

“The office staff frequently partners with the local colleges and universities to provide information to prospective teaching candidates. In the area of teacher retention, the regional office of education offers professional learning opportunities in multiple modalities.”

Survey Highlights

Illinois school districts report the teacher shortage problem has worsened from last year in virtually all major areas:

  • 88 percent of schools say they have a teacher shortage problem, and 77 percent report the shortage is getting worse
  • 93 percent of districts expect the shortage will worsen over the 2023 and 2024 academic years
  • More than 2,000 positions are either not filled or filled by someone not qualified to teach there – more than double the amount reported from the last school year
  • 96 percent of schools report a substitute teacher shortage problem
  • More than 400 classes were canceled, and nearly that many sent online because schools simply had no one to teach them in person
  • While administrator shortages are much less severe, schools report they’re having a harder time finding qualified candidates amid retirements and are more and more concerned those struggles will grow over time

Shawn Walsh on Will County Dealing with Teacher Shortage

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Klaisner Says Education System Issues Could Last for Another Two Years

“What we are seeing this year that is tremendously different is that we have more than just teacher shortages. We are seeing bus driver shortages, lunchroom shortages, crossing guard shortages and paraprofessional shortages. We are seeing administrators leaving the field and we are seeing superintendents leaving. We even see it at the school board level where elected school board members are saying this is more than I signed up for,” said Klaisner. 

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  1. I was a sub until recently, but I’m becoming homeless. I’ve been kept out of teaching. It wasn’t long ago I was in Shawn Walsh’s office. I had a K-9 teaching license, “highly qualified” in social studies, English, French. But I’m made for high school and have been subbing for yrs, due to a disability. Anyway, I have a masters in French, plus 1 teaching license, and Mr. Walsh’s office insisted that I needed another 2 whole years of education courses to get a 6-12 license. How dumb is that? If I have successfully taught at the University of Illinois and Illinois State University and a couple junior colleges and middle schools, I should be considered qualified to teach in a high school, too. This is an egregious case of over-regulation. The education system has kept me out of my chosen career and is leaving me in the gutter.
    Shawn Walsh is one of the people in authority I reached out to about the outrageous treatment of students by staff when I worked as a teacher. Nobody did a thing, except fire me. At least one of those students needs help right now, over a decade later. They didn’t help then, they should help now. I also need help. The recent snow has delayed my eviction. I feel betrayed by the education establishment, police, dcfs, aclu, teachers union, politicians. Nicely brushed under the rug. Let them admit they haven’t always put the children’s welfare first and aren’t transparent. I can’t be a moral person and stay silent. Listen here for an overview of the story. Thank you for listening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJYPMr1x5jI&t=634s