PIKE: New 2023 law could alleviate substitute teacher shortage
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By BETH ZUMWALT
A new rule in Illinois for 2023 could have an impact on the substitute teacher shortage.
Under the new law, teachers must hold a bachelors degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution or applicants enrolled in an approved Illinois educator preparation program may qualify for a substitute license with at least 90 hours of course work. The “or” is the change. It gives districts an option when hiring substitutes.
“A teacher training program is a program through an accredited university. Examples include WIU, QU, UMSL, and GCU just to name a few,” Kylee Orr, superintendent at Pleasant Hill, said.
John Wood offers a 60 hour course for an associates degree, but that is short of the required 90. JWCC credits would count toward a 90 credit certificate from an approved learning institution.
The change could not have came at a better time, according to Darrin Powell, Western Superintendent.
“The substitute shortage is severe,” Powell said. ”Several times a week we have to use teachers, principals, counselors, etc. to cover classes where we do not have a sub available.”
Jeff Able, superintendent of Griggsville-Perry said it is situations such as those that was the basis for the new law.
“I think this change is somewhat designed to address the critical teacher shortage in Illinois,” Able said. “Although there are fewer credits required with this new standard, the addition of being enrolled in a teacher preparation program puts subs with specific teacher education courses.”
Carol Kilver, superintendent at Pikeland Unit 10, said the new program will assist with the teacher shortages, but will require support from the district.
“Programs supporting expedited certification will assist with the substitute shortage in the short-term. Many adults are great with young people,” Kilver said. “Interactions with young learners is a new dynamic for most who have not worked in the field of education. Teaching is an art and science. Preservice teachers get many hours in the field with master teachers before entering the classroom. As inexperienced individuals enter the substitute pool, schools have to work strategically to support these individuals with interpreting lesson plans, launching of meaningful lessons, classroom management and interacting with the public.”
Kilver said the list of substitutes in her district is very short for employees across the board.
“The substitute list for paraprofessionals and classrooms teachers is also very short. On any given day, 15 or more employees can be absent from the workplace across the district. To cover these absences, many times principals and teachers cover for each other,” Kilver said. “This means teachers lose prep time for planning, grading, providing individual student assistance, and communicating with parents. Teachers are compensated for this coverage….yet it shifts the work and causes teachers to perform more duties outside of the school day.”
Able said the law will make it easier to fill spots for long term substitute needs, such as a medical leave.
“This new requirement is for long term substitutes which many districts hire to teach in a classroom for the entire year,” Able said.
Orr said the substitute shortage in Pleasant Hill is not as serious as in other places, but she still utilized the new law earlier this year.
“We had three college students working as substitute teachers while they were on Christmas break. It was very helpful,” Orr said.
Other laws with a local impact
By BETH ZUMWALT
Two new laws that caused concern in Pike County – The SAFET Act, which eliminated cash bail for most minor crimes and a ban on the sale of guns designed to fire multiple times at fast intervals. The new law also required those owning assault guns, to register them with the state are on hold due to Supreme County rulings.
But laws that did go into affect are:
• An updated smoke alarm law The original law, adopted in 1988, required all dwellings in Illinois to have smoke detectors. The update in the law is any smoke alarm being installed in a single or multi family home are required to have a 10-year sealed battery and that they be within 15 feet of any sleeping area and on every floor.
Unoccupied attics or other areas are exempt. This includes old, existing and new construction
The law has advantages in that no more changing batteries twice a year and no chirps when the battery power has ran low. The new 10-year smoke detectors start at around $20, but, higher priced, option are averrable.
Jason White, Chief of the Pittsfield Fire Department, agrees with the law.
“In areas like ours, it will be hard to enforce,” he said.
• Staring Jan. 1, deer hunters in Illinois will have a new option for the type of firearm they use. Effective with the new year, deer hunters can now use single-shot, centerfire rifles. Those guns are only capable of fringing a single round of ammunitions that contains primer in the center of the cartridge and not in the rim. Prior to the law change, hunters could only use shotguns, handguns, muzzleloader.
“I think it is a good law,” Levi Ladner, a hunting enthusiast and taxidermist in the Rockport area said. “Everybody I’ve talked to is going to it. I think shotguns will be a thing of the past around here anymore”
Ladner said the center-fire slug is less powerful than the rimshot used in Missouri, but provides a clearer harvest.
“We shouldn’t have as many wounded, but not killed, deer,” he said. “It’s a more efficient shot.”
• The minimum wage continues to creep toward its $15 an hour minimum goal. As of Jan. 1, minimum wage in Illinois is $13. The minimum wage will reach $15 per hour in 2025.
The change does not apply to all minimum wage earners. Workers who receive tips will see their base wage raise to $7.80 and those under 18, who work less than 650 hours per years will earn $10.50.
• While the price of fuel is on the rise nationwide, Illinois residents will see their cost increase over that plus 3.1 cents. The increase was scheduled to go into effect July 1, but inflation and already high gas prices resulted in legislators to pause the increase. It now went into effect Jan.1 and the next rate increase should go into effect as scheduled, July 1, 2023