SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A $4 million federal grant program is available to pay for Illinois teachers to earn a state license to teach the English language.
The Illinois State Board of Education announced the program Friday. State education officials hope it will increase the number of bilingual education teachers in the state.
According to the board, Illinois school districts reported 98 vacancies for teachers to lead bilingual education classrooms.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala said her own experience as a school district’s director of bilingual services showed her the importance of those teachers to children learning English.
"Their ability to flourish in school in any subject depends wholly on getting effective services to support their language development," Ayala said.
School districts that participate can pay for teachers’ tuition to earn credentials for bilingual licenses or shorter-term endorsements.