AACTE and Education Community Urge Congress to Support EDUCATORS for America Act
AACTE recently sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to cosponsor the EDUCATORS for America Act (S 3360/HR 6205), which would invest in and revitalize federal educator preparation programs. These programs are critical to addressing the shortage of profession-ready, fully licensed teachers in our nation’s classrooms. The letter was cosigned by 41 other education groups.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Alma Adams’ after extensive consultations with AACTE, including feedback from AACTE members and other partner organizations. To date, five senators and 25 representatives have cosponsored the bill.
However, the need to address the educator shortage, diversify the profession and make it a more affordable career to pursue continues to grow. This legislation would make critical investments in the federal government’s educator preparation programs, including the following:
- Authorize $500 million annually to support educator preparation programs and partnerships including:
- Update and expand the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program to focus on residency programs, strengthen the principal and school leader preparation programs, and enable partnerships to address the need for early childhood educators, school librarians, counselors, and other specialized support personnel.
- Reauthorizing the Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-serving institutions in expanding and strengthening their educator preparation programs.
- Providing recruitment and completion grants to educator preparation programs to ensure that students have the wrap around supports they need to graduate.
- Establishing an education careers opportunity program to expose middle and high school students to the education profession.
- Increasing the capacity of educator preparation programs to meet the needs of the field, including supporting school leader development, faculty professional development and training, offering doctoral fellowships, and promoting innovation and resiliency.
- Remove financial barriers to entering the education profession by:
- Doubling the TEACH grants to $8,000 per year and providing additional protections and options to prevent the conversion of grants to loans.
- Including the costs of clinical experiences in the cost of attendance for awarding financial aid.
- Providing educators and teachers in high need fields credit towards loan repayment as they serve in the field rather than waiting 5 to 10 years to earn forgiveness upon completion of their service.
To urge your representative and/senators to cosponsor this important legislation, please visit AACTE’s Advocacy Center.