There Aren't Enough Teachers For Low-Vision And Blind Students by The 21st published on 2017-11-08T22:41:15Z We’ve all heard about the big teacher shortage that has long plagued Illinois education. Unfortunately, the situation only gets worse when talking about teachers who specialize in educating low-vision and blind students, specifically. There are about 2.4 million students in Illinois overall from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Of those, nearly 17,000 have low vision or blindness. Currently in Illinois, there is only one teacher for every 79 visually impaired students. Similar statistics can be found across the United States. There aren’t many programs dedicated to training individuals who want to teach the blind. In fact, only two colleges in all of Illinois offer degrees with that specialization: Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and Illinois State University in Normal. We spoke with professors from both institutions: ISU assistant professor of low vision and blindness Olaya Landa-Vialard, along with associate professor Stacy Kelly and professor emeritus Gaylen Kapperman. In addition to being an educational expert, Gaylen is himself blind after being born with Stargardt’s disease, the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration.