IEA applauds Gov. Pritzker’s focus on early childhood education, urges him to support paid student teaching

SPRINGFIELD – Today Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his annual budget address. The following statement is attributable to Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Al Llorens:

“We were encouraged to hear the governor hopes to increase the amount of money spent on early childhood education by an additional $150 million. We know that educating students earlier helps students succeed in both school and in life. We appreciate the governor noting that ‘Teachers are the single most important investment we can make in our schools.’ As a result of that belief, he intends to add $45 million to shore up the teacher pipeline. This is good news and we hope he considers our proposal to pay student teachers (HB 4652) a stipend for their work in the classroom as part of that plan. While we would like to see the state’s Evidence Based Funding model fully covered, we do appreciate the additional $350 million proposed toward it. This money is absolutely essential, especially when you consider 80 percent of the public schools in our state are underfunded. And, the additional $30 million proposed for higher education is a step in the right direction to cut down on student debt and make education more accessible for all Illinoisans, though we acknowledge that much more is needed to shore up Illinois’s long-underfunded higher ed systems.”


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.

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