SPRINGFIELD – Today the Illinois Education Association (IEA) honored Rep. Terra Costa Howard for her commitment to public education.

The following statement is attributable to IEA President Kathi Griffin:

“The IEA is honoring Rep. Terra Costa Howard for her deep support of public education. She has positively impacted the lives of all our education support personnel (ESP). When this pandemic started it was our ESP that were called upon to make sure that our children continued to learn and get the vital services so many of them need. Rep. Costa-Howard took the initiative to make sure that our most vulnerable, front-line workers are given the ability to care not only for themselves but for their loved ones as well. We need to be letting our ESP know how valuable they are to our students and staff. Representative Costa-Howard did just that by being our champion for House Bill 12 (HB 12). HB 12 lowered the threshold for education personnel to qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Benefits. Many education personnel are not full-time workers and before HB 12 became law, did not meet the legislative requirements to qualify for FMLA. Rep. Costa Howard is champion of the rights for our education employees. We are proud to honor her with our Friend of Education award.”

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At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.