U.S. Education Secretary on Addressing Teacher Shortage with American Rescue Plan Funds

Press Release and Fact Sheet from U.S. Department of Education

March 28, 2022 |
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Rural Schools Collaborative is dedicated to tackling the teacher shortage in rural communities, especially through our network of Rural Teacher Corps programs. We are excited to share this news release from the U.S. Department of Education that includes a fact sheet about how organizations across the country have already begun using American Rescue Plan dollars to remedy the teacher shortage, as well as clear calls to action for those wanting to continue the work.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2022

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will issue 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. Today’s announcement builds on President 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 Secretary Cardona’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. 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,” said Secretary Cardona. “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.”

To coincide with the Secretary’s call to action, the Department released a fact sheet providing concrete examples of how states, districts, and schools are already taking up the call to use federal COVID dollars to strengthen the teacher pipeline, get more educators in the classroom, and accelerate student recovery. Districts and higher education institutions are partnering to create and expand residency programs, offer paraprofessional internships, get college students in the classroom more quickly, and more. Because of these partnerships, students across the country can spend more time working with qualified educators and addressing the academic impact of COVID-19. To view the Department of Education fact sheet, click HERE.

Secretary Cardona, a former teacher himself, is calling on school and state leaders to work together to level-up the teacher pipeline and get more qualified adults in the classroom immediately across the country. In order to accelerate student recovery, he is urging states and schools to use funds provided by the American Rescue Plan and other federal COVID-19 relief funds to scale up educator preparation programs (EPPs) at institutions of higher education and look for dynamic and innovative ways to provide hands-on learning for prospective teachers or paraprofessionals in a classroom environment.

In his speech, Secretary Cardona will issue a call to action with clear deliverables for states, districts, and institutions of higher education. Using Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER), and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds these groups can create bold and innovative paths to the teaching profession.

To increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession in the fall and beyond, Secretary 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, allowing teacher apprentices to earn a good wage while learning the skills – on-the-job and through higher education partners and their integrated coursework – necessary to provide a quality education to our nation’s students. 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.
  • Invest in evidence-based teacher residency programs. States can provide grant funding to increase the number of partnerships between and 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, Secretary 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, Secretary 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 students 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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