MinookaPrimaryCenter8.28.18 RSSPRINGFIELD – To address Illinois’ teacher shortage, Senate Education Chairwoman Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant announced her support for legislation intended to aid a new generation of teaching students.

“We need to equip our school districts with the tools to recruit the best and brightest to train them,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “To attract that kind of talent, the Senate has recently passed several commonsense reforms that cut red tape, streamline the licensure process and give educators a higher wage. The demands to meet the academic, as well as social and emotional needs of our students, demands a salary to match our expectations."

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is a lead cosponsor on Senate Bill 1952, which removes unnecessary redundant testing, permits K-12 student teachers and early childhood student teachers to receive compensation and allows early childhood student teachers to be paid and receive credit.

“As a former educator, I know Illinois needs to make substantial changes to the way we license our teachers,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 1809, which helps students enter the teaching field by expanding the eligibility of MAP grant recipients to include students who have already received bachelor degrees or have 135 credit hours, if they are seeking to earn their teaching certificate through an educator preparation program. The measure keeps recipients instate by requiring them to stay in Illinois for three of the next five years.

“Teachers are concerned about graduating college with unmanageable student loan debt,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Raising the starting salaries for our educators while promoting need-based grant assistance for those pursuing a teaching degree in the state will help encourage more students to pursue the profession while remaining here in Illinois.”

These two measures that passed the Senate have taken input from educators and administrators in Illinois to help ease the teacher shortage crisis.

“We cannot solve the teacher shortage crisis overnight,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “However these measures are a step in the right direction to give quality educators the opportunity to be successful in Illinois’ classrooms.”

Bertino-Tarrant urges local residents to click here to sign up for her e-newsletter to stay-up-to-date with legislation as it progresses this spring.

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