Illinois Education Association to Release Annual, Bi-Partisan State of Education Report

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

The Illinois Education Association (IEA) released its fifth annual IEA State of Education report, the only bipartisan poll monitoring Illinoisans’ views on all aspects of public schools. The results show deep concern around the teacher and education employee shortages, and large support for changes that would help attract and retain educators. The data reveal Illinoisans deeply value public education and believe teaching is harder than ever before.  The data show that awareness of the teacher and education employee shortages is growing and so is concern. Among the 39 percent who are aware, 87 percent report they are worried about the educator shortage and among the 50 percent who are aware, 79 percent are worried about the education support staff shortage. Illinoisans say they have several fears around the teacher and education support staff shortages:

• 81 percent say students will end up performing worse

• 79 percent believe standards may have to be lowered to allow more people into the profession

• 74 percent say classrooms will get more crowded

• 67 percent worry there will be a push to online learning

When it comes to fixing the crisis, Illinoisans support several policy changes that could help, including:

• 65 percent support changes to the pension system to make it more fair for those hired after 2010

• 67 percent support student loan forgiveness for educators

• 71 percent support higher pay for adjunct professors

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