Lightford expands educational opportunities for minority teachers

041216CM0883SPRINGFIELD- In 2012, 49 percent of Illinois public school students belonged to a racial or ethnic minority group, while only 16.7 percent of teachers did. Many studies show that the more teachers reflect the student body, the better the results in the classroom will be.

In light of this, minority teachers working toward additional degrees or certifications in Illinois could soon be eligible for the Minority Teachers of Illinois Program, under a proposal the Senate approved today.

Senate Bill 3319, which passed the Senate today, would allow minority teachers to apply to receive a grant for up to $5,000 a year.

“Studies show minority children have better academic outcomes when being instructed by a teacher belonging to their same racial minority,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, sponsor of the legislation. “A more diverse group of teachers with advanced degrees only creates more opportunities for our children.”

Teachers with appropriate degrees can teach dual credit courses, which award college credit upon their completion. This legislation would help expand opportunities for all children to get ahead on their college coursework while still in high school.

The proposal now heads to the House for consideration.

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