A diverse coalition of teachers, K–12 administrators, higher education institutions, and advocacy organizations have come together to call on leaders to address the state’s urgent need to increase the number of teachers and to elevate the teaching profession in 2018 and beyond.

The coalition, Teachers for Illinois’ Future: Investing in Teachers for All Students Today and Tomorrow, has a vision that all students, especially those who need the most, have access to the teachers they need to prepare them for college and career.

Over the last decade, the supply of future Illinois teachers has tightened. This shortage varies by region and subject area and is most acute outside of the Chicagoland area in rural and suburban districts. The subjects where this shortage is most severe include special education, bilingual, high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers, and career and technical education. To view unfilled teacher positions by district, visit the coalition’s interactive data visualization.

The teacher shortage impacts all students. Schools hire substitute teachers in lieu of full-time teachers, cancel classes, and convert classes to online instruction.

The Teachers for Illinois’ Future coalition is a collaborative effort to

  • Ensure students have the teachers they need in order to learn.
  • Support teachers’ growth from exploration of profession and throughout their career.
  • Increase the respect for and the desirability of the teaching profession.
  • Provide school and program leaders with systemic flexibility to meet their students’ needs.

Teachers for Illinois’ Future is a campaign led by Advance Illinois, the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, Equity First Superintendents, Northern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, and Teach Plus.