Chicago is reporting an unprecedented number of applications for teaching positions this year, up a full 2,500 from last year. Paired with a decline in enrollment, this boom in prospective teachers has allowed Chicago to be pickier when it comes to who walks through the classroom door.
According to Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago schools, 46 percent of this year?s new teachers have degrees from top-tier colleges (as ranked by US News): ?This means we?re getting more of the best and brightest, not just locally, but nationally.? (Good for Duncan for even recognizing that getting bright teachers is a good thing.)
The city's vacancy rate is now lower than it has been in three years. Not surprisingly, almost a quarter of the vacancies Chicago still has are in special education. Duncan hopes to improve that number by pumping a $1.9 million federal grant into alt-cert programs targeting hard-to-staff schools and subject areas.