FILE - Chicago Teachers Union, Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Schools Strike, 2019

Chicago Teachers Union president Jesse Sharkey speaks at a rally outside of an elementary school where striking teachers picketed on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in Chicago. 

(The Center Square) – A report by WalletHub ranks the 50 states from best to worst for teachers. Illinois finishes 16th on the list.

The report uses specific metrics, including affordability, compensation, and others, to determine which cities are considered the most teacher friendly.

Jill Gonzalez of WalletHub explained how the list was formed.

"We looked at 24 different metrics for teacher friendliness," Gonzalez said. "That ranges from teacher to student ratio, to teacher potential income growth."

Gonzalez also discussed which categories Illinois is doing the best in and where the state struggles.

"In terms of compensation, Illinois is doing very well, as they rank second, and that is with the adjusted cost of living," Gonzalez said. "When it comes to overall academic and work environment, that is where it could be doing better, and that is why they are not in the top ten."

When looking at Illinois numbers, the state ranked 10th in competition and compensation, meaning many are going against each other for higher-paying jobs.

Some throughout the state report the state is stuck in a teacher shortage. Last month, The Center Square reported Illinois schools employed more teachers in 2021 than at any point over the past decade, while student enrollment declined over the same period.

In 2021, Illinois Report Card figures show the state had 132,345 teachers. That is more teachers than any year in the previous ten.

The report did find a teacher shortage in the special education teaching positions, as 2.5% of those positions are still left unfilled.

Overall, the state's vacancy rate for the top 10 instructional subject or program areas by unfilled full-time equivalents totals was 0.75%.

There are more than 850 school districts across the state with an average class size of around 20 students per teacher.  

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.