WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) today introduced legislation to combat inadequate funding and teacher shortages in rural schools. The Rural Education Investment Act requires the Secretary of Education to determine the percentage of K-12 students living in rural areas who are served by local educational agencies, and reserve at least an equal percentage of Teacher Quality Partnership grants for those agencies. The Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program allows teachers to be placed in a full-time classroom clinical practice while completing Master’s level coursework.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, all students deserve access to a quality education,” said Bost. “That quality education comes from training and educating highly qualified teachers. Southern Illinois has many amazing educational professionals, which is a blessing, but rural communities face unique challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to ensure rural areas like ours receive assistance and resources necessary to grow the next generation of American leaders.”

“Through establishing model residency programs, the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program is essential in preparing educators of the 21st century,” said David Ardrey, President of the National Rural Education Association and Executive Director of Illinois Rural Schools. “AIRSS and NREA are proud to support the Rural Education Investment Act to ensure rural communities benefit from TQP and receive a pool of talented, licensed, and effective educators. This legislation promotes equity in rural and small schools and is an important step to provide all school children a high-quality education.”

“The nation’s rural schools continue to face unique challenges in recruiting teachers due to their location and limited budgets," said David Schuler, Executive Director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association. "The Rural Education Investment Act would ensure rural districts have access to the critical Teacher Quality Partnership Program, which has proven success in recruiting and preparing high-quality teachers. We are grateful for Congressman Bost’s leadership on this issue.”

The Rural Education Investment Act is supported by the School Superintendents Association, National Rural Education Association, National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition, and the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools.