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Department of Education and Partners Launch PSA Campaign – Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives

On November 9, the U.S. Department of Education, TEACH.org, and the One Million Teachers of Color (1MToC) Campaign announced their partnership for a new public service announcement (PSA), Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the Biden Administration are prioritizing teachers and the shortage crisis by investing in strong teacher pipelines that focus on diversifying the profession. AACTE was consulted on this project and on the development of the PSA.

By demonstrating the value and impact of teaching, the PSA looks to elevate the profession, shift perceptions, ignite respect, celebrate teachers, and inspire more talented people — especially Black and Latino talent — to become teachers.  In a LinkedIn Live event that accompanied the PSA launch, Secretary Cardona dived into teacher diversity and shortages, stating that the teacher shortage is a symptom of a teacher respect issue.

While the pandemic resulted in increased respect for teachers, that respect is attributed to assumed sacrifice and the difficulty in the job. The PSA looks to shift the public’s perception of educators from sacrificing public servants to experts who do complex, sophisticated, fulfilling, innovative, and impactful work. Recognizing teachers as experts helps provide them with the agency to make decisions that are right for their students. Agency is part of the ABCs of recruiting and retaining a highly educated and diverse workforce, a research-based strategy employed in the Department of Education’s Raise the Bar: Lead the World program, the other two being Better working conditions and Competitive salaries.

While the Department continues to invest and encourages states to invest in, apprenticeships, grow their own programs, and other incentives for a diverse, highly trained workforce, the PSA will feed into the collective work of the Department and partners TEACH and One Million Teachers of Color (1MToC). Black and Latino Gen Y/Z individuals consider themselves leaders who want an impact; they need the pathways to get there and inclusive schools to stay in. The 1MToC campaign, made up of several nonprofits, lifts policies that increase the number of teachers and leaders of color by providing supportive and innovative pathways to the profession and advancing inclusive environments designed for teachers and leaders of color to be supported and valued for their contribution to classrooms, schools, and communities. Together, these three entities have embarked on a campaign that, hopefully in time, will help address the teacher shortage crisis effectively and equitably while providing the profession with the long-due respect it deserves.  

If you are interested in learning more about the PSA Campaign – Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives, and how to use its resources, email Nicole Dunn at ndunn@aacte.org.

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