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Supporting the Educator Profession with COVID Funds

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Congress passed several pieces of legislation to support the safe re-opening of schools and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and learning of students.  Funds included in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds played a critical role in helping achieve these and related goals.

The Department of Education recently issued a report summarizing how local and state education agencies utilized ESSER funds.  It found that “88% of public schools identified teacher and staff burnout as a concern during the 2021-2022 school year … “[a]nd 53% of public schools reported feeling understaffed entering the 2022-2023 school year.”  Given these concerns, “LEAs expended 44% of ESSER subgrant funds on personnel, including salaries and benefits for additional staff and additional staff time to address the impacts of lost instructional time. In FY 2021, SEAs and LEAs used ESSER funds to stabilize the workforce, strengthen the pipeline into the profession and support additional staff to safely reopen schools and address student needs.” (AACTE created a Toolkit to help EPPs partner with LEAs to utilize these funds to address educator shortages in their areas.)

Building off this work and recognizing the need to recruit and retain high quality educators, legislators from across the country and on both sides of the aisle are planning to raise teacher pay in 2023. While much more needs to be done to support the profession, this is welcome news. 

AACTE encourages you to reach out to your state legislators to express your support for these initiatives as well as discuss the work you do to help prepare future educators succeed in the classroom.  If you would like to learn more about AACTE’s advocacy work, please join us at our 2023 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, February 24 – 26, or email me at mrose@aacte.org.

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