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Local News

New law in Illinois aims to combat teacher shortage

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant
Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant has gotten a law passed in the state Legislature that works to combat the national teacher shortage.

Bertino-Tarrant championed the new law, which a news release from her Plainfield office stated will provide school districts with additional tools to combat the shortage.

House Bill 5627 allows retired teachers to fill in when needed. The law created a new type of license, a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License, to allow individuals who hold an associate degree or who have completed 60 hours of higher education coursework to substitute teach for five consecutive days.

The law also allows full reciprocity for out-of-state educators wishing to teach in Illinois, allows individuals with a lapsed Professional Educator License to qualify for a substitute teaching license and requires school districts to offer training to short-term substitute teachers.

“Teacher shortages lead to strained resources, large class sizes and impaired learning experiences for our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new approach will help us recruit qualified educators who want to work in our communities.”

The release cited Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools data that show 86 percent of Illinois school districts surveyed have had to pull teachers from planning periods to fill in as substitute teachers in other courses. In addition, superintendents are struggling to find bilingual, Spanish or special education teachers, school nurses and psychologists.

“There are quality educators that want to teach in Illinois classrooms,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is important that we empower them by implementing common-sense reforms, cutting red tape and making the teacher licensure process reasonable and fair.”

Bertino-Tarrant’s office described the bill as multifaceted and bipartisan. It was signed into law Friday and went into effect Sunday.

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