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Congressional representatives from Southern Illinois and Iowa have introduced bipartisan legislation to combat inadequate funding and teacher shortages in rural schools. 

The Rural Education Investment Act was introduced Dec. 11 by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa.

The measure requires the  U.S. Secretary of Education to determine the percentage of K-12 students living in rural areas and ensures it is equal to the percentage of Teacher Quality Partnership, TQP, grant dollars going to schools in rural areas. 

The TQP Grant Program allows teachers to be placed in a full-time classroom clinical practice while completing Master’s-level coursework.

“All students deserve access to a quality education, regardless of where they live,” Bost said in a news release.

“A major part of that comes by educating and training highly qualified teachers. 

“While Southern Illinois is blessed with many amazing educational professionals, rural communities face unique challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers.  

“I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to ensure that rural areas receive assistance and resources necessary to grow the next generation of America’s leaders.”