education

"IMG_4491" by Flickr User alkruse24 / (CC X 2.0)

A survey of Illinois public school districts finds administrators are scrambling to find substitute teachers for as many as 600 classrooms a day.

The review of 400 districts that the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools released Tuesday reveals that teachers call in absences more than 16,000 times per week. Administrators have trouble finding enough people to fill in for nearly 20 percent of them.

Jeff Vose is association president. The regional superintendent for Sangamon and Menard counties says stricter licensing requirements are to blame.

mhec.org

Illinois Board of Higher Education Director James Applegate has announced he will be stepping down from his post next month.

Applegate announced his resignation in IBHE's bi-weekly report Friday. He says he will be leaving to ``pursue other opportunities to serve American higher education.''

The 65-year-old began working with the state in February 2014. He made $200,000 per year in his position as executive director.

In the newsletter, Applegate noted achievements during his tenure, which he says include raising grant funds to support college readiness and access.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

A bipartisan group of state legislators has been meeting since August, trying to come up with a new plan to fund public schools.

 

This isn't the first such commission; Illinois has a notoriously inequitable school funding formula, and lawmakers have been trying to adjust it for years.

 

But State Senator Karen McConnaughay, a Republican from St. Charles, says senate leaders hoping to end the overall budget stalemate have inspired lawmakers to find common ground.

 

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

A new law designed to relieve the statewide shortage of teachers and substitute teachers was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner today.

State Senator Dave Luechtefeld, a Republican, taught history and government at Okawville High School for more than 30 years, so it’s hard to argue with him about what it takes to be an educator.

That’s probably why the bill he sponsored passed unanimously in both chambers of the Illinois legislature. It lowers the fee for a substitute teaching license, and smooths the way for retired teachers to work as subs.

Nearly 150 Illinois public school districts gave bonuses to teachers and administrators last school year.

The Chicago Tribune says the 144 districts represent 20 percent of all districts. Citing state data, the newspaper reports about 3,100 people received a total of $5.5 million. The average was $1,750.

Bonuses have become a common way to inspire educators to improve student achievement. But researchers say results are varied, and critics wonder whether it's a good use of tax dollars.

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