CHICAGO, Ill. – Continuing his efforts to address the teacher shortage in Illinois, state Rep. Nick Smith, D-Chicago, sponsored an initiative to allow school districts to pay their student teachers and create early education endorsements to help individuals satisfy the state’s student teaching requirement.

“Education is a top priority of mine and we must strive to provide our students with the best possible opportunities to be successful,” said Smith. “The first step we can take to continue to develop a world-class education system is by addressing the needs of our teachers and lowering the average student to teacher ratio in schools across the state.” 

Smith backed Senate Bill 1952, which addresses many areas surrounding the teacher shortage in Illinois. The Smith-backed initiative allows school districts to pay their student teachers to help them earn a living wage and afford increasing school costs. This measure also creates early childhood education endorsements to allow individuals to fulfill requirements the state of Illinois places on student teachers before they can become licensed full-time or part-time teachers, and establishes a refund program for qualifying prospective teachers to help cover costs associated with completing the teacher performance assessment.  

Senate Bill 1952 passed the House and Senate with overwhelming bi-partisan support and was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker late last week.

“I would like to thank Governor Pritzker for taking our children’s futures seriously and signing legislation that will help re-build our education system and address our teacher shortage,” said Smith. “It’s reassuring to have a legislative body and a governor who understand that investing in our children’s future is the right thing to do.”

Rep. Nicholas SmithRep. Nicholas Smith

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