The teacher shortage in the state of Illinois is a problem that simply refuses to go away. In 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education reported that there were over 2,000 unfilled positions in districts across the state (ISBE, 2021). As of 2020, that number had more than doubled to 4,462. This increasing teacher shortage has underscored the need for high-quality teacher education programs within higher educational institutions.
Every semester, our Secondary Educator Licensure Teacher Candidates enter their clinical experience committed to sharing their passion of lifetime learning and scholarship through service to students in the secondary schools. These clinical experiences are essential to their training as secondary educators. However, gaining access to transportation can be very difficult for teacher candidates. Our crowdfunding project is grounded in the belief that NIU students who choose to fulfill their purpose by becoming teachers have many challenges to navigate already, and transportation should not be one of them.
Because of this, we have created the CLAS – Secondary Educator Licensure Transportation Equity Fund. This fund exists to provide our teacher candidates with emergency funding when they encounter a situation where they cannot get to their clinical experience due to transportation barriers. Your gift to our project may very well make the difference in allowing a teacher candidate to successfully complete their clinical experience.
Gifts received will immediately go to work in providing access to transportation to teacher candidates in need.
“From the time I took this position in 2018, we have always had students who have trouble getting transportation to their clinical experiences. Time has proven that this is an ongoing issue. There are students who cannot complete the program because they simply cannot get to clinical spaces. There may be students who do not apply to the program because they lack access to transportation. This is not acceptable, and we are committed to finding solutions." - Dr. Rachel Warren, Director of Teacher Preparation and Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.