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To recruit students as teachers, Illinois state board awards nearly $2 million in grants

Close-up of the arms of a teacher and student facing each other opposite a desk with workbooks on it.

The Illinois State Board of Education has awarded almost $2 million to 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state to recruit and support students in high school to be future educators.

The funding is a part of a career and technical education grant that offers students a head start on teacher preparation through hands-on learning, dual credits, credentials, and mentorship. This year, the state’s budget included the first increase in state funding for career education in five years, making the grant possible.

“We have seen significant outcomes from school districts already implementing Education Career Pathways. We are excited to support the growth of this successful model across the state, especially in regions with the highest demand for teachers and in the greatest need for additional resources,” said Carmen Ayala, state superintendent of education.

Chicago Public Schools will receive $237,300 for Curie Metropolitan High School, Farragut Career Academy High School, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, and Simeon Career Academy.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there were more than 6,000 teaching and support staff vacancies across the state last year. The complex issue has taken a backseat as the coronavirus has disrupted learning, but the state will be forced to reckon with this issue as school buildings reopen.

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