Schmidt endorses increased funding for Foundation to help address teacher shortages
State Rep. Kevin Schmidt (R-Millstadt) has announced his steadfast support for the Golden Apple Foundation’s ongoing efforts to combat the teacher shortage crisis in Illinois. With a focus on their Golden Apple Scholars Program and Accelerators Program, the foundation has secured additional funding to bolster the recruitment and preparation of educators who will serve in areas of critical need.
The recent funding increase, with the Scholars Program receiving $10.75 million and the Accelerators Program receiving $5.0 million, underscores the importance of addressing the pressing teacher shortage issue in our state. These programs provide pathways for aspiring teachers and career-changers to make a substantial impact in Illinois schools that require their expertise the most.
Commenting on this initiative, Rep. Schmidt said, “The role of educators is pivotal in shaping the future of our state, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our schools have the skilled professionals they need. I am proud to stand with the Golden Apple Foundation in their commitment to providing quality education to all students, especially in underserved communities.”
The Golden Apple Scholars Program focuses on undergraduate students, while the Accelerators Program targets career-changers who are willing to teach in school districts facing severe teacher shortages. Participants commit to teaching for five years (Scholars) or four years (Accelerators), helping to fill critical gaps in educational resources.
“The Golden Apple Foundation’s mission aligns perfectly with our shared goals of providing quality education and supporting educators throughout their careers. By increasing the number of well-prepared teachers, we are taking a significant step towards addressing the teacher shortage crisis and ensuring that every student has access to an excellent education,” he added.
The foundation’s immediate expansion efforts this spring, which have resulted in offering close to 150 more positions to qualified applicants, demonstrate the tangible impact of this increased funding. Additionally, the Golden Apple Foundation has set ambitious targets for the future, aiming to increase aspiring teacher candidates, establish a presence in over 90% of Illinois counties, and supply teachers for more than 80% of the most in-need school districts.
Through their comprehensive programs, Golden Apple inspires, develops, and supports teacher and school leader excellence, with a particular focus on schools in need. The foundation’s commitment to recognizing outstanding educators and providing hands-on mentoring ensures that both students and educators thrive in the classroom and beyond. Rep. Schmidt’s endorsement of the Golden Apple Foundation’s endeavors highlights his dedication to strengthening the education system in Illinois and ensuring that every student has access to skilled, dedicated teachers.