U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has issued a nationwide call to action for states, higher education leaders, and schools to tap federal resources and work together to address the teacher shortage and aid student recovery.

His March 28 announcement builds on President Joe Biden’s call in the State of the Union encouraging leaders to use American Rescue Plan funds to address this critical challenge schools and districts across the country are facing. The call to action coincides with the secretary’s participation in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Summit on Improvement in Education in San Diego.

“I have always known that a well-prepared, well-supported, well-compensated, and diverse educator workforce is the foundation for student success,” Cardona said. “Educator vacancies and other staff shortages represent a real challenge as our schools work to recover, falling hardest on students of color, students in rural communities, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners. That’s why I’m proud that the American Rescue Plan has equipped states, school districts, and colleges and universities that prepare our educators with unprecedented financial resources to help overcome this challenge.”

He continued, “Today, I am calling on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to use ARP funds to address the teacher shortage and increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the teaching profession. My team will continue to advise state and local leaders on how they can seize this moment; put COVID relief dollars to work in our schools; and achieve a lasting, equitable recovery for our students.”

The department released a fact sheet providing concrete examples of how states, districts and schools are taking up the call to use federal COVID dollars to strengthen the teacher pipeline, get more educators in the classroom and accelerate student recovery. View the fact sheet.

To increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession in the fall and beyond, Cardona is calling on states to commit to:

  • Establish teaching as a Registered Apprenticeship. The U.S. Department of Labor has approved standards that create an easy pathway for states to establish and use apprenticeship funding to support teaching residencies. The pathway allows teacher apprentices to earn a good wage while learning the skills necessary to provide a quality education to our nation’s students. To learn more about Registered Apprenticeships, visit apprenticeship.gov.
  • Invest in evidence-based teacher residency programs. States can provide grant funding to increase the number of partnerships between districts that support teaching residencies.
  • Establish or expand loan forgiveness or service scholarship programs. These programs can also include a commitment to teach in a high-need area for a minimum number of years.
  • Increase teacher compensation. Provide a competitive and livable wage, including increasing starting salaries and salary caps for teachers.

To increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession in the fall and beyond, Cardona is calling on districts to commit to:

  • Increase the number of partnerships between EPPs and districts that support teaching residencies and schools. Teacher residents, as part of their clinical experience, can serve in schools as substitutes, paraprofessionals, or tutors as their academic schedules allow and as they complete requirements for teacher certification.
  • Increase the availability of qualified teacher residents to support educators, students, and staff. Districts can partner with institutions of higher education to provide additional supports to educators and students through the use of teaching candidates.

To increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession in the fall and beyond, Cardona is calling on institutions of higher education and EPPs to commit to:

  • Increase the number of teaching residency programs and program capacity. Teacher residents, as part of their clinical experiences, can serve in schools as substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, or tutors as their academic schedules allow and as they complete requirements for teacher certification. An institution could use its HEERF institutional funds to expand its teacher training programs in response to the pandemic through such measures as hiring additional faculty and staff; providing stipends, scholarships, or other student aid; and creating additional course offerings.
  • Work with states to establish teaching as a Registered Apprenticeship. The U.S. Department of Labor has approved standards that create an easy pathway for states to establish and use apprenticeship funding to support teaching residencies. As previously described, Registered Apprenticeship is an effective “earn and learn” model with a long history of establishing career pathways in various industries by providing structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences combined with job-related technical instruction with a mentor that leads to a nationally recognized credential. To learn more about Registered Apprenticeships, visit apprenticeship.gov.
  • Establish or expand loan forgiveness or service scholarship programs. These programs can also include a commitment to teach in a high need area for a minimum number of years.

 

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