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For Immediate Release
August 20, 2004

Retention rates for Illinois public school teachers remain high
State Board releases annual educator report

Springfield, Ill.—Illinois will need nearly 40,000 regular teachers and more than 9,000 special education teachers through 2007. This and other information is included in the “2003 Annual Report of Educator Supply and Demand" just released by the Illinois State Board of Education.

In its fifth report - which is required by Illinois law – ISBE outlines the supply and demand for teachers, administrators and other certified personnel by field, content area and levels. Additional data in the report shows that the demand for teachers is currently tempered by the increases in the number of certificates issued, the retention rate remains stable and the number of students enrolled in college education programs.

“These data trends are important for all of us in education as well as for policy makers and universities that offer teacher preparation courses,” said State Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller. “This report is also something that those who aspire to teach can review to determine where the greatest needs are.”

The report includes statistical information on “demand” for teachers, or the needs of districts for educational personnel and services. Supply information includes all educational personnel available to schools - regardless of whether or not they are currently employed by schools.

Summary highlights – supply of teachers:

Retention rates remain high

The largest supply of educators is the previous year's workforce. In 2003, 138,119 educators or 93% of the previous year's total workforce were retained to work in Illinois public schools.

There has been an increase in the number of certificates issued over the last four years

The second largest source of supply is newly certified of "first-time" teachers. Over the last four years, new certificates issued to teachers and school service personnel have increased 11% a year, and administrative certificates have increased 8% per year. Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in education programs showed a 7% average increase from about 40,000 in 1999 to 48,500 in 2002.

The number of re-entries hired has rebounded

The third major source of supply includes educators returning to the profession. Between 1997 and 2001, the number of re-entries hired increased 67%, from a low of 3,172 to 5,301. The number of re-entries hired decreased over 30% in 2002 but increased by 28% in 2003.

Summary highlights – teacher demand:

K-12 student enrollments are expected to continue growing, but only at the secondary level

Illinois public school enrollments have been increasing since 1990 and that overall trend is expected to continue through 2007. But all of the growth in the next few years will be at the secondary level. Elementary enrollments are expected to decline.

There was a rebound in educator workforce growth

Since 1998, the total educator workforce grew by only 2% a year. But in 2002, the overall workforce increased by only 205 educators or 0.1%. In 2003, however, the trend rebounded with the administrator workforce growing by less than 1%, the teaching force increasing by 2.6% and other certified staff growing by 2.8%. Taken together, the overall educator workforce increase was 2.5% over the previous year.

Areas of highest demand

The positions with the most severe shortages remained the same as the previous year, with special education topping the list. However, the number of districts reporting shortages dropped by an average of 122 for these areas. Rank ordered by the number of districts reporting shortages, the positions most needed are:

Special Ed-Speech & Lang. Impaired, Special Ed-Behavior Disordered, Special Ed-Learning Disabled, Special Ed-Cross Categorical, Mathematics, Foreign Lang.-Spanish, Special Ed-EMH, Psychologist, Science-Physics, Science-Chemistry, Guidance Counselor and Librarian/Media Specialist.

The full report is available at:

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777