Rep. Demmer Introduces Legislation to Create Teacher Mentor Grants for School Districts Statewide

Dixon – State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has introduced legislation authorizing the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to create a revised grant funding structure for teacher mentors to ensure that school districts statewide benefit from effective teacher mentoring programs.

“Research shows that effective and robust teacher mentor programs produce better-trained teachers, and that means lower teacher turnover rates and better student outcomes,” said Rep. Demmer. “This legislation will establish benchmarks for funding, enact guidelines for programs statewide, and build a trained, statewide teacher mentor corps. It is my hope that HB 5122 will ensure that every school in Illinois can benefit from effective teacher mentorship. Successful mentorship will allow teachers and students to thrive and will help alleviate the pressures of the teacher shortage.”

The legislation, House Bill 5122 (HB 5122), establishes statewide guidelines and funding for a teacher mentoring program. HB 5122 would authorize grants, subject to appropriation, to teacher mentor training providers who would train teacher mentors within schools. Currently, mentor programs are administered on a school-by-school basis, and the General Assembly has consistently underfunded or failed to fund teacher mentor grants altogether. In instances where the General Assembly is unable to pass an appropriation that fully funds mentor programs statewide, the grants would be allocated on need-based criteria, such as grade level needs and geographic shortages of teachers.

If enacted, this legislation would provide school districts with additional tools to combat the teacher shortage and teacher attrition. The concept behind HB 5122 was brought to Rep. Demmer by a teacher in the 90th District. Various statewide education groups are continuing negotiations on the details of the legislation to bring stakeholder consensus on the issue.

HB 5122 has yet to be assigned to a substantive committee.