Illinois is facing a teacher shortage.
With an improving economy many college graduates with an education degree are moving into the private sector where demand is growing for people with degrees in math, science and agriculture. According to Jeff Vose, President of the Regional Superintendents of Schools, fewer young people are seeking a career in education.
Vose says critical areas of shortage are in math, science, agriculture and special education, especially in smaller, rural districts.
In Illinois, over three hundred school districts offer vocational agriculture and with turnover and retirement the state needs up to fifty new ag teacher a year, but between the four Illinois Universities training ag teachers, only a dozen or so new teachers graduate each year.
Kathy Navotney is a program advisor for Facilitating Coordination in Ag Education
And many of the ag education graduates go into agribusiness instead of teaching, making the shortage event worse.
The state is looking at ways to incentivize students to go into education careers, but resources are very limited due to the state’s budget woes.