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Your Voice Matters: Help Strengthen the Special Educator Workforce

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.

It was a busy week in Washington, and we are slated for another one ahead. This coming week, House Republicans are expected to begin consideration on the Parent Bill of Rights Legislation, H.R. 5. It is anticipated that discussions will begin on Thursday with the final vote slated for Friday. Members introduced several amendments to the bill last week — it remains to be seen if House Rules Committee will now allow floor votes on those amendments. 

AACTE Action Alert: Urge Your Members of Congress to Support the Pay Teachers Act

As you will recall, earlier this month, Senator Sanders, Chairman of the Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced legislation aimed at addressing teacher pay and the critical shortage of educators facing the nation. The Pay Teachers Act not only would increase the minimum teacher salary to $60,000 per year, but also significantly increases federal investments in public schools and in personnel development.

The bill makes the following mandatory investments beginning in fiscal year 2024 and permanently indexes funding to inflation in succeeding fiscal years:

  • Triples Title I-A funding ($36.77 billion).
  • Triples funding for Rural Education programs ($430 million), doubles Impact Aid Basic Support Payments ($1.46 billion), and provides an additional $1 billion for the Bureau of Indian Education.
  • Diversifies and expands the teacher pipeline by: (1) authorizing a new Grow Your Own program within the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program and providing $550 million for TQP grants; (2) investing $150 million in the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence program to support teacher preparation at HBCUs, TCUs and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs); and (3) investing $300 million in IDEA, Part D to support the special education personnel pipeline.
  • Supports the teaching profession by expanding leadership and advancement opportunities by investing in and strengthening the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program ($100 million) and the Teacher and School Leader Incentive program ($200 million).

AACTE has created an Action Alert — making it easy for you to encourage your Members of Congress to support this critical piece of legislation. Click this link to enter your address and you can quickly send a letter to your Members of Congress expressing the importance of the Pay Teachers Act and asking for their support.

 Action Alert for Personnel Investments in the Biden-Harris FY24 Budget Proposal

Last week, I provided a breakdown of the Biden-Harris Administration’s FY2024 budget proposal, which includes substantial increases in investments that address the critical shortage of educators facing the nation. These investments include, but are not limited to the following:

  • $132 million for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), which funds comprehensive educator preparation programs such as residencies.
  • $30 million for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program, which funds educator preparation programs at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs.
  • $250 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part D – Personnel Preparation program (IDEA-D-PP).

Our colleagues at the Council for Exceptional Children have created a legislative action alert, offering a quick and easy way to ensure your voice is heard. Simply enter your name and address via this link and you can send a message to your Members of Congress in both the House and Senate urging them to offer their support for these critical investments that can support rebuilding and diversifying the special educator and specialized instructional support personnel pipeline.

New Resources for Educators

  • National Center for Teacher Residencies released a new report which draws upon a subset of residency programs from NCTR’s network that demonstrate positive outcomes in recruiting teachers of color. The programs were examined to identify the most effective recruiting strategies with key themes emerging.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time, see you on Twitter! Kait @brennan_kait

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