AACTE Contributes to Senator Sanders’ Education Town Hall
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, held a Town Hall meeting on February 13 to call for increasing the salaries and supporting policies for the nation’s educators.
Sen. Sanders was joined by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA); Becky Pringle, president, National Education Association; Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers; and four educators to talk about their experiences in the classroom and why it is critical to increase salaries for educators. AACTE was invited to share videos (see minute 5:23 and 6:40) of students who are being prepared to become teachers at AACTE member institutions.
During the Town Hall meeting, Sen. Sanders announced his intention to introduce legislation that would, among other things, set the minimum salary for new educators at $60,000. If signed into law, teachers, counselors, social workers, and others who have been in the profession for longer will also benefit from this legislation,.
Sen. Sanders, Pringle, Weingarten and the educators also called for greater support for educators given the many crises they face. Several of them talked about the challenges they experience as well as those that students encounter, including hunger and poverty, COVID, school violence, divisive issues, and mental health.
As one participant said, “If our educators are not healthy, our students aren’t healthy.”
AACTE strongly supports the legislation that Sen. Sanders intends to introduce and will provide members with the opportunity to encourage their representative and senators to also endorse this critical legislation.