SIUC to train needed special ed teachers for rural schools
CARBONDALE — Learning-disabled students in rural Southern Illinois are often educated by teachers who are not specially trained to help them.
It’s another frustrating consequence of the Illinois teacher shortage, now up to about 3,400 unfilled positions in classrooms across the state, according to Dave Ardrey, executive director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools.
Bringing new teachers to rural schools is tough, Ardrey said. Salaries tend to be lower, and many young people just aren’t interested in moving to small and shrinking communities.
It gets tougher when rural schools seek to fill “specialty” positions, Ardrey said, from music teachers, to shop teachers to special ed. There are fewer qualified applicants, and legislators can be inconsistent with the special funding that provides those programs.