Illinois Lieutenant Governor Stratton Visits WIU to Address Teacher Shortage

MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) – Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton visited Western Illinois University on Monday.

It was part of his statewide tour to address the teacher shortage.

Stratton said the state wanted to fix the problem in the long term, so it was increasing investment in education by $12 billion.

She said $122 million will be invested in MAP funding, which will go to Illinois residents pursuing an undergraduate program at a college or university in the state. There will also be more money to fund scholarships for teachers of color.

“I want teachers to know and educators to know that we appreciate them, that we want to support them, and the best way to do that is to talk to those who are currently in teacher preparation programs,” Stratton said.

Kinsey Tiemann is a WIU senior who met with Stratton about how students looking to enter the field of education can be better supported.

“A lot of people didn’t want us to continue our studies. We’ve had teachers or other community members basically saying they don’t think it’s a good career to pursue. But it was really great to have this dialogue to see what the state is going to do about this,” Tiemann said.

Stratton also met with agricultural students and professors to see how the state can enable more people to access agricultural studies, especially those in urban communities.

“We are all linked by agriculture. We should all have the opportunity to participate in the wealth that agriculture produces here in Illinois,” Stratton said.

She said agriculture is Illinois’ biggest industry, generating about $1.9 billion a year.

WIU is the seventh public institution Stratton has visited on her statewide tour and she plans to visit more schools.

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