SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, is helping combat Illinois’ teacher shortage by ensuring that educators in communities across the state are paid fairly for their important work.
“We need to recognize that teachers fill a vital role in our society and pay them what they deserve,” Jones said. “There are teachers who still have to live with roommates after years of shaping the next generation of Illinois’ kids, and that has to change. A well-funded education system filled with well-payed educators is the foundation for a thriving economy, a brighter future for our children and a stronger Illinois.”
Jones passed House Bill 2078, which sets minimum teacher salaries at $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year and gradually raises it by about $2,000 every year for four years. The last Illinois law guiding universal teacher pay was passed in 1980 and it set base salaries for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 120 semester hours at just $10,000 a year. This legislation received strong bipartisan support and is now law.
Illinois is currently tenth in the country in average statewide teacher pay; however, that figure is skewed by extremely high salaries in Chicago suburbs. A 2018 study by the Illinois State Board of Education found that over 500 of Illinois’ 898 school districts statewide started teachers with a bachelor’s degree at salaries less than $40,000, and 167 started them below $35,000. Low starting salaries for teachers has led to rapid turnover, decreasing the quality of education and creating the teacher shortage Illinois now faces.
“If teachers are paid what they’re worth, more new teachers will stick with their careers after the first few years,” Jones said. “Ensuring our children have access to the best education is not only critical to helping tomorrow’s leaders succeed, but an important step toward strengthening our economy and growing our state.”
Visit Rep. Thaddeus Jones’ website
241-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 558-6433 FAX
15525 South Park Ave.
South Holland, IL 60473
(708) 933-6284 FAX