Cavaletto concern about to teacher shortage continues
Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem), a former principal, is still very concerned about the teacher shortage.
Cavaletto approached the subject for the second time in a month at Monday’s House Appropriations Elementary and Secondary Education Committee hearing when he asked educators about the shortage. Earlier he said in a March South Central Reporter article that maybe free lunches and more pay could help remedy the deficiency.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Vice President for Policy and Research Ellen Sherratt, who has researched teacher shortages for 15 years and specifically studied Illinois teacher shortages at the University of Oxford, shared in detail teacher licensure and renewals in regard to teacher shortages.
“Because there are different ways of looking at the teacher shortage there is not a clear answer to the question of what the number is,” Sherratt told Cavaletto, who had asked about the exact number of the shortage.
According to Sherratt, once you figure in teacher vacancies, emergency credentials, teacher ratio, recruitment and retention as well as other factors there is just no way to tell.
“Because there is not a dialogue among policy makers about which of those metrics makes the most sense in any particular state or district context, there is not a clear response to that question,” Sherratt said, adding the media hype many times has the public asking if there is even a debate.
Cavaletto questioned the price of a prospective teacher’s college tuition and if in fact an apparent shortage may be due to the figures, guessing approximately $100,000 when all is said in done.
“The cost to become a teacher could be the reason,” Cavaletto said of the shortage.
Sherratt said the cost of going into law or medicine and the return is much greater than for teachers in the end.
“What is the ratio for the teacher to the student,” Cavaletto asked.
Sherratt said she was not able to answer, but would forward information to Cavaletto in an effort to get him more detailed data.