Durbin, Duckworth Announce $2.5 Million for Chicago Public Schools and Depaul University to Address Teacher Shortages

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a total of $2,504,602 to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and DePaul University through the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program. This program uses innovative ways to recruit, prepare, and retain more educators, especially teachers of color.

“We must do more to support our nation’s educators to ensure students across Illinois have access to high quality education,” said Durbin. “The COVID-19 pandemic, books bans, and low pay cause educators to leave the classroom. This continues to hurt our most vulnerable children. That’s why I introduced The RETAIN Act, which provides fully refundable tax credits to teachers, helps schools overcome teacher shortages, and ultimately helps ensure students get the best education possible. The TQP program will allow more schools to invest in our educators and improve the classroom experience for our students.”

“Teachers are remarkable public servants, and their actions can have far-reaching impacts on their students—I know from experience that one specific teacher of mine changed my life with his selfless acts of kindness,” said Duckworth. “The least we can do is work to make sure we’re giving teachers the support they deserve, as well as figure out ways we can continue recruiting and retaining the teachers that will help form tomorrow’s leaders.” 

A breakdown of the funding is included below:

  • Chicago Public Schools (CPS): $1,133,464  

CPS’ new Pre-Service Teaching Equity Project aims to ensure schools work more closely with faculty at local college teacher preparation programs to support student teachers. In partnership with Chicago State University, Northeastern Illinois University, and DePaul University, the program will focus on pairing veteran teachers of color with student educators and better supporting the mentors as well as the new teachers.

  • DePaul University: $1,371,138 

The DePaul program, in tandem with the Academy for Urban School Leadership and CPS, is setting out to recruit and place more Black and Latino teachers in hard-to-staff positions at schools serving 70% or more low-income students.

In July 2020, Durbin introduced the RETAIN Act to address the teacher shortage by creating a fully refundable tax credit for teachers, paraprofessionals, mental health providers, and school leaders in Title I schools and foreducators, program providers, and program directors in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funded early childhood education programs. The tax credits increase annually to incentivize professionals to stay in the classroom as they grow more experienced.