SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed several bills he says will solve a national teacher shortage at the state level.
Governor Pritzker on Wednesday signed four bills passed by the Illinois General Assembly, including increasing benefits for teachers and reducing tuition and other requirements to become an educator.
The governor’s office says the new laws include an increase in the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 a year, a 120% increase in grades for Illinois minority teachers, a $200 million investment in the development of the early childhood education workforce and increased funding for teachers. preparation programs.
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Governor Pritzker says the state has added more than 5,000 teachers to the workforce since 2018 and teacher salaries have increased every year since then.
“Across the country, school districts are grappling with the impact of teacher shortages,” Gov. Pritzker said. “That’s why I’ve worked with lawmakers and school districts across the state to find new ways to bring people into the profession and encourage them to stay in it. In this fight for the future of our children, school districts need to know that they are far from alone.”
Among the bills signed by Governor Pritzker today included House Bill 4246which reduces the penalty for renewing an expired teacher’s license from $500 to $50, and Senate Bill 3907, which states that in the event of a disaster declaration, short-term substitute teachers can now spend 15 consecutive days in the same classroom. Both laws take effect immediately.
House Bill 4798 was also signed by the governor on Wednesday, which allows currently enrolled student teachers to obtain additional classroom training through a replacement teaching license if they have completed 90 credit hours. Under current Illinois law, applicants for substitute education must have at least a bachelor’s degree. The law will come into force on January 1, 2023.
Also signed by Gov. Pritzker was Senate Bill 3988which lowers the minimum age requirement for K-8 paraprofessional educators from 19 to 18. This law will also come into effect on New Year’s Day 2023.
“Governor Pritzker’s investments in strengthening our education system and increasing funding for schools have increased teachers’ salaries, recruitment, retention and diversity, even during the difficult years of the pandemic,” said the Dr. Carmen Ayala, State Superintendent of Education. “Today’s signing of the bill builds on these efforts to help schools meet the continued need for substitute teachers and paraprofessionals. Continuing to make strategic and equity-focused improvements to our reservoirs will ensure that all students have the well-supported educators they need in every classroom, every day.”
All the bills were passed unanimously by the General Assembly during the last month of the spring session.