Help on the way for teacher shortage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) --- It's a profession that many are passionate about, teaching. But for the last several years, a massive teacher shortage has made these jobs difficult to fill. Now, help is on the way.

Governor Rauner singed a new law to reduce teaching requirements in hopes to get more interested the field.

It was 40 years ago when William Phillips started his first teaching position and looking back he says the requirements became a big hurdle for many to overcome. 

"When you have to take such a beating as far as the requirements, the pay and your pensions and all these things that go with it.. it's a rocky road to influence people to stay in Illinois," said Williams. 

Now, a new law makes several of those demands go away. One allows 19 year olds to apply for a teaching license and another removes 20 hours of coursework for those who want to renew a Career Technical Education.

"While still maintaining the integrity of the education and workforce we want to reduce unnecessary barriers such as fees, paperwork that doesn't really matter for educators effectiveness," said Emily Fox from the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Phillips says one of the benefits will make it easier for out of state teachers to transfer to Illinois. 

"They were districts that hired superintendents from other states that had a very difficult time and getting their superintendent certificate in Illinois even though they had doctorates degrees and so on and so forth."

While this new law will help fill hundreds of job openings, Phillips says it's not an overnight fix. He says it's hard enough attracting people to move to Illinois in the first place.

"I mean just because they made some real progress doesn't mean it's going to turn things around next year or a programs will be full." 

This law went into effect July 1 and teachers and educators say the biggest challenge now is getting the word out. 

 

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