Chicago Public Schools is facing a teacher and substitute shortage — and it doesn’t hit all schools equally.
Last school year, almost a third of 520 Chicago Public Schools — 152 — had at least one regular education or special education teacher position open all year long, a WBEZ analysis shows. The problem is most acute at low-income, majority-black schools.
At the same time, CPS has a severe substitute teacher shortage that also hits black schools harder. At more than 60 schools, there was no sub half the time a teacher was absent.
Student Amonti Johnson knows what that is like. He says he would often show up for a class at Phillips High School in Bronzeville to find a note on the door directing students to the auditorium.
That meant the teacher was absent and there was no substitute. He prepared himself to sit idle for 50 minutes.
“It is like ‘Dang, I don’t have a teacher,’ so that is … one less thing that I could have learned,” he said.
Chicago Public Schools officials acknowledge the problems. They also note that just because there’s a vacancy doesn’t mean students miss instruction. Principals do their best to work with the teachers they have, officials say.
How is the problem playing out at your school? Search below to find out.