Bustos Highlights Need to Address Teacher Shortages in Hearing with Education Secretary Cardona

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) emphasized the need to address teacher shortages during a House Appropriations Committee hearing with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. During the hearing, Bustos highlighted her RETAIN Act – legislation to help fill open positions by providing tax credits to teachers at Title One schools. 

WATCH: Bustos Highlights Need to Address Teacher Shortages in Hearing with Education Secretary Cardona

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois school districts have roughly 4,100 unfilled positions, including teachers, paraprofessionals, and other licensed staff. 

“In rural communities across the country, teacher shortages impact the quality of education our children receive,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “While the State of Illinois is working hard to address this, it’s vital that the federal government do its part to address the dire need for early childhood and K-12 teachers. By passing my RETAIN Act, we can provide a fully refundable tax credit to attract and retain educators in communities that need them.”  

The Retaining Educators Takes Added Investment Now Act, or the RETAIN Act would create a fully refundable tax credit for teachers, paraprofessionals, mental health providers, and school leaders in Title I schools and educators, 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 credit would start at $5,800 annually and increase to $11,600 as these professionals become more experienced to incentivize retention.