Illinois Governor Implements Plans to Address Teacher Shortage

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. legislation / ˌlɛdʒ ɪsˈleɪ ʃən / (n) – a law or laws

    The government finally enacted new legislation protecting the environment.

  2. vacant / ˈveɪ kənt / (adj) – not filled

    During the summer, the beachfront hotel rarely has vacant rooms.

  3. remuneration / rɪˌmyu nəˈreɪ ʃən / (n) – an amount of money paid to someone for doing a job

    The remuneration for government employees will increase next year.

  4. increment / ˈɪn krə mənt / (n) – a regular increase or addition, usually in small amounts

    Parking fines usually increase in increments of $5.

  5. allot / əˈlɒt / (v) – to distribute a portion of something

    I allot three hours of my time every day to study.


Read the text below.

The government of Illinois in the United States enacted two new legislation to address the state’s lack of teachers.

According to state education officials, more than 1,800 teaching positions remained vacant from the school year 2018-2019. Additionally, a survey conducted this year revealed that around 90% of school districts in some parts of Illinois experienced problems in filling teaching positions. To address the teacher shortage, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a raise in teachers’ minimum remuneration and increased K-12 funding.

Previously, the starting pay of Illinois teachers varies depending on factors like the teacher’s level of education and years of teaching experience. It also depends on the location and budget of the school district. Consequently, some teachers earn only less than $40,000 annually. But with the new legislation, their starting salaries will be raised in increments over the next three years. By 2023, their minimum pay will be at least $40,000.

Apart from increased remuneration, an additional $375 million was allotted for basic education as the state’s way of stepping up to its duty to finance school districts.

Pritzker’s initiatives were met with praise. In fact, the Illinois Federation of Teachers said that the higher minimum pay will encourage teachers to enter and stay in the profession. A legislator also commented that the new salary increase will assure teachers that their profession is valued in the state.

However, former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner criticized this, saying that minimum pay was an inefficient way to compensate teachers. He said that teachers will receive better compensation if things like performance and prior work experience are considered for salary increase.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that Pritzker’s initiatives are the best way to address Illinois’ teacher shortage? Why or why not?
• Aside from those mentioned in the article, in what ways can teachers be encouraged to start and continue in the teaching profession? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What do you think are the necessary qualifications of a good teacher (e.g. educational level, years of experience)? Discuss.
• How important are teachers in society? Explain.