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Secretary Cardona Lays Out Vision to Support Teachers, Elevate the Profession

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

This week Congress is back in session and we have learned that the House has set the schedule for marking up FY2023 bills this month. Reports signal that on June 22, the House will approve the 12 subcommittee allocations, meaning they will set the mark for the total amount each subcommittee will have to work from. On June 30, starting at 10 a.m. EST the Committee will mark up the Labor-HHS-Education bill. It is sure to be a busy summer as advocates continue to urge Members to make significant investments in education- specifically investments targeted to address the critical shortage of educators and specialized instructional support personnel across the nation.

Secretary Cardona Lays Out Vision to Support Teachers and Elevate the Profession

On Thursday, Secretary Cardona spoke at Bank Street College of New York, laying out his vision for how the nation can support teachers across the United States and elevate the profession.

“A great teacher in every classroom is one of the most important resources we can give our children to recover from this pandemic and thrive,” said Secretary Cardona. “Yet, even before the pandemic, many states and communities experienced shortages in qualified teachers, including in critical areas such as special education, bilingual education, career and technical education, and science, technology, engineering, and math education. The pandemic has only served to make these shortages worse — falling hardest on students in underserved communities. It’s not only our responsibility but our commitment at the Department of Education to encourage, invest in, and lift up teachers across America. The future of our country and our children’s futures depend on it.”

The Department recognized the Secretary’s address as part of an ongoing effort by the Department and the Biden-Harris Administration to invest in our nation’s teachers.

The Secretary outlined the following strategies that will guide the Department of Education’s work to recruit, develop, and retain high-qualified teachers in the coming months and years:

  • Investing in a strong and diverse teacher pipeline, including increasing access to affordable, comprehensive, evidence-based preparation programs, such as teacher residencies, Grow Your Own programs, including those that begin in high school, and apprenticeship programs

  • Supporting teachers in earning initial or additional certification in high-demand areas such as special education and bilingual education or advanced certifications to better meet the needs of their students

  • Helping teachers pay off their student loans, including through loan forgiveness and service scholarship programs

  • Supporting teachers by providing them and students with the resources they need to succeed, including mentoring for early career teachers, high-quality curricular materials, and providing students with access to guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, mental health professionals, and other specialists

  • Creating opportunities for teacher advancement and leadership, including participating in distributive leadership models, and serving as instructional coaches and mentors.

In a press release, the Department noted the Biden-Harris FY 2023 budget request for the Department of Education which includes nearly $600 million in new funds — for a total of almost $3 billion — to recruit, support, and retain a talented, diverse workforce.

The investments include the following:

  • $350 million to focus the Education Innovation and Research program on a new charge to improve teacher recruitment and retention;

  • $132 million for Teacher Quality Partnerships to improve preparation for teachers (an additional $73 million);

  • $20 million for the Hawkins Centers of Excellence to increase the number of diverse and talented teachers prepared at our Historically Black colleges and universities, minority serving institutions, and Tribal colleges and universities (an additional $12 million);

  • $250 million for IDEA Part D to better prepare and support our special education teachers (an additional $155 million)

The secretary called on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to join in the effort of recruiting, investing in, and retaining diverse and talented educators by supporting the strategies outlined above.  The secretary’s remarks come as the nation faces a critical shortage of educators. The critical shortage has led to states and districts often hiring unqualified personnel to fill vacancies and lowering the standard for certification.

Along with the Secretary’s announcement the Department released a fact sheet on ways states, districts, and IHEs can use American Rescue Plan Act funds to support addressing the critical shortage.

Watch the secretary’s full remarks. 

Department of Education Announces Appointment of First-Ever Chief Economist

This week, Secretary Cardona appointed Jordan Matsudaira to serve as the Department of Education’s first-ever chief economist. Mastudaira will also continue to serve in his current role as deputy under secretary.

In a statement the Department noted that as chief economist, Mastudaira will work with experts in the Office of the Chief Data Officer, the Institute for Education Sciences, Budget Service, and Federal Student Aid to:

  • Provide the best-possible analysis and advice to guide real-time policymaking;

  • Conduct rigorous research to further key elements of the Department’s learning agenda;

  • Build a culture of experimentation, including partnerships with leading social science researchers to pilot-test new ways to serve students and borrowers; and

  • Serve as a liaison to the research community so that leading researchers’ insights and evidence inform our agenda and we can work together to build the evidence and research base on how best to strengthen education.

The Department is currently building this function out of the Office of the Under Secretary, with a focus on higher education, but hopes to expand the scope of the Office of the Chief Economist in the coming months.

Center for American Progress and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Release New Report on Alternative Certification

In 2020, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report analyzing enrollment and completion trends in alternative teacher certification programs run outside of institutions of higher education (IHEs). The authors found that enrollment in this sector was growing rapidly, in large part due to large numbers of students enrolling in for-profit, non-IHE programs. But such a growing sector requires ongoing analysis to provide education advocates with an accurate understanding.

CAP and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) have released an updated analysis of the non-IHE alternative certification sector, titled The Alternative Teacher Certification Sector Outside Higher Education. This report examines the non-IHE alternative certification sector to find which types of operators manage programs, the role of for-profit organizations, in which states these programs are operating, and how enrollment and completion in these programs varies by race/ethnicity and gender. The report also investigates enrollment and completion trends in teacher preparation programs over the last decade.

One key finding in the report is that despite growing enrollment in non-IHE alternative certification programs, the number of students completing programs in this sector has declined by 10% in the last decade.

If you’d like to share this report on social media, please feel free to use the sample tweets below:

  • More and more students are enrolling in alternative teacher certification programs not run by colleges, but many are not actually completing their programs and becoming teachers. Learn more in this @EdProgress & @AACTE report: https://ampr.gs/3mtJE3f

  • How many states host teacher certification programs run outside of colleges? How have enrollment and completion trends in these programs changed in the last decade? Find out in this @EdProgress & @AACTE report: https://ampr.gs/3mtJE3f

Registration Open for Special Education Legislative Summit in Washington, DC

The Council for Exceptional Children and the Council for Administrators of Special Education are hosting their annual Special Education Legislative Summit (SELS) 2022 from July 10th through July 13th. The event is held in Washington, D.C and is an opportunity for educators from across the country to make a difference by advocating for change with Members of Congress. Hill visits will take place in person on Tuesday, July 12th, subject to the in-person policies of Congressional offices. 

You can learn more about SELS and register here. Registration closes  June 15 .

In the States: Florida to Recruit Teachers from Outside the United States to fill Vacancies

Osceola County, Florida has 140 teacher vacancies to fill for the coming school year and this week the School Board approved the district to hire a company to recruit teachers from other countries to fill the vacancies. “Unfortunately, this is the situation we have, and we have to — and I have to — think outside the box and think creatively,” school board Vice Chairman Julius Melendez said. School leaders told a local news outlet in Florida that this is a short term fix to address the immediate need.

New Resources for Educators

  • U.S Government Accountability Office issued an updated report on Pandemic Learning. The report examines the pandemics effect on academic progress in the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Education Development Center released a new report on how school districts can improve the quality of their summer learning initiatives.
  • National Women’s Law Center in collaboration with the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education released a report Title IX at 50 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The authors note the report celebrates significant progress made toward ending sex discrimination in schools while recognizing that much work remains to be done.

  • National Center for Education Statistics released their annual report on the Condition of Education. This congressionally mandated report contains key indicators on the condition of education in the United States at all levels, from prekindergarten through postsecondary, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons.

See you on Twitter! Kait @brennan_kait

Do you have a question about Washington Update? Want more information? Want to talk education policy? Email me, let’s have a virtual coffee: kaitlynbrennan88@gmail.com

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