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Legislative Update


U.S. Education Secretary calls for using ARPA funds to address teacher supply

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Federal Issue, Legislative Update Blog | 0 comments

In a speech last week, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called on education stakeholders to make use of funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to address persistent and widespread teacher shortages.

Cardona urged states, postsecondary leaders, districts, and schools to consider establishing evidence-based teacher residency programs, creating registered apprenticeship programs for the teaching profession, and increasing teacher compensation along with a slew of other proposals.

According to this U.S. Department of Education press release: To increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession in the fall and beyond, Secretary Cardona called 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.

Secretary Cardona called on districts to commit to:

  • Increase the number of partnerships between educator preparation programs 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.

Secretary Cardona called on institutions of higher education and educator preparation programs 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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