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Bring Your Passion to AACTE’s Day on the Hill

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AACTE’s virtual Day on the Hill is scheduled for September 21-23. As we prepare for AACTE’s premiere advocacy event, some may wonder, “What legislation should we prioritize?” The simplest answer is whatever you are most passionate about.

The nation is facing a teacher shortage. We are all familiar with the statistics: there were an estimated 100,000 classrooms in 2018 staffed by instructors who did not complete some type of educator preparation program; despite increased need for PK-12 teachers—and growing enrollment in higher education—the number of students completing bachelor’s degrees in education has been declining over the last two decades; in a recent survey, 27% of teachers said they were considering leaving their jobs, retiring early, or taking a leave of absence due to COVID-19.

However, there are legislative proposals that seek to address these issues and more.

For example, President Biden, in his American Families Plan, proposes to invest $9 billion in teacher preparation programs. The House of Representatives supported most of these investments when it passed the spending bill that funds the Department of Education. AACTE hopes that the Senate will follow suit, but it is unclear if it will.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) have proposed the Rural STEM Education Research Act. The legislation supports research and development to increase access to STEM education opportunities in rural schools and to provide teachers with the resources they need to teach more effectively. The legislation, which AACTE supports, has passed the House of Representatives and awaits Senate consideration.

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) have introduced Civics Secures Democracy Act. This bill, if signed into law, would provide limited, focused federal investments to support and expand access to civics and history education in our nation’s classrooms. Unfortunately, neither chamber has debated this bill yet.

These are just a few examples of the legislation AACTE supports. During our Day on the Hill, we will be encouraging representatives and senators to support these important pieces of legislation and others. I encourage you to register for Day on the Hill and advocate for these bills or whatever issue motivates you. To register, please visit aacte.org.

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