• Sen. Reed and Rep. Adams Introduce EDUCATORS for America Act

    Last month, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Alma Adams (D, NC-12) took a first step in addressing the long-standing national teacher shortage through the introduction of the bicameral (S.3360/H.R.6205) EDUCATORS for America Act; critical legislation that brings federal resources to bear on a national problem that until now has been mostly left to states and local communities to fix. The EDUCATORS Act would annually invest $1 billion in states and educators to improve the teacher pipeline and create more career-ready, diverse teachers and school support staff.

    AASCU joins 47 national organizations and institutions of higher education in support of this legislation. Upon its introduction, Dr. Mildred García, president of AASCU, said “The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) enthusiastically supports the EDUCATORS for America Act and its goals to strengthen teacher preparation programs, like those offered at regional comprehensive institutions, as well as grow and diversify the nation’s teaching corps. AASCU, and its close to 400 members who prepare the majority of teachers for our nation’s schools, understands the value and importance of well-prepared educators in shaping the lives of our children and in the development of our communities.”

    The legislation evenly splits the annual authorization with $500 million in grants to states that develop strategies to meet their educator workforce needs and $500 million for enhanced educator preparation programs. The bill would also:

    • Expand the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program to boost programs for administrators and address the need for specialized personnel, such as early childhood educators and counselors;
    • Reauthorize the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program for teacher preparation efforts at historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and other minority-serving institutions;
    • Double federal TEACH grants to $8,000 per year.

    Reauthorization and renewed commitment to the Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence is critically important in addressing the dramatic demographics gap between America’s students and those that educate them when multiple studies have shown that racial diversity can provide significant benefits to students. Even though over 50 percent of students are people of color, the 2017-18 National Teacher and Principal Survey published by the U.S. Department of Education report showed that 79.3 percent of public-school teachers identified as white, a figure that had barely changed since 2000.

    At present both versions of the EDUCATORS for America Act have been referred to their respective committees of jurisdiction awaiting a hearing or markup. Supportive individuals, organizations, and institutions are encouraged to register their opinion of the EDUCATORS for America Act with their local member of Congress and senators and ask for their support of the bill.

    Any questions or comments regarding the legislation can be sent to Luis Maldonado at Maldonadol@aascu.org and John Patrick Walsh at Walshj@aascu.org.  

     

    summary of highlights and supporters of the EDUCATORS for America Act