Proposed teacher pipeline grant aims to address staffing shortages
(25 News Now) - Across the country, including in Illinois, schools are having difficulty finding teachers.
The Illinois State Board of Education says there were 3,558 unfilled teaching positions as of October of last year.
As part of his proposed budget, Gov. JB Pritzker wants to launch a teacher pipeline grant program directing $70 million per year over the next three years to 170 Illinois school districts.
The goal is to help bring new teachers into the field and encourage current teachers to say in the profession. The state dollars would help districts pay for signing bonuses and tuition assistance for certifications and degrees.
Recently appointed Illinois School Superintendent Tony Sanders said it’s not teaching itself that is causing the teacher shortage, but inequalities in school districts which lack resources.
“This is why the teacher pipeline program will target districts with the resources they need to solve locally the challenges they have for recruitment and retention and remove barriers preventing aspiring educators from pursuing a calling to teaching,” Sanders said.
“For most, this isn’t just a job. It’s a calling, and our commitment is to support you as passionately as you support our parents and our kids,” said Gov. Pritzker.
The state dollars could help districts pay for signing bonuses and tuition assistance for certifications and degrees. Money can also be used to support current teachers by providing materials, supplies and additional coaching.
The districts targeted for the program account for 80% of all unfilled teaching positions in Illinois, state officials said.
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