AASPA Action Alert

EDUCATORS for America Act

BACKGROUND

The EDUCATORS for America Act was introduced just before the holidays by Congressmembers Alma Adams (NC-12), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), and Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) in the House, and by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Bob Casey (D-PA) in the Senate. The bill would address challenges with recruiting, preparing, and supporting education professionals. It focuses on early outreach and career exploration, clinical preparation, financial assistance, faculty development, and capacity building at the state and local levels. To help build support for this important legislation, we need you to take action. Please write your Congressional delegation and urge them to cosponsor the EDUCATORS for America Act and support programs that and foster educator retention and strengthen the education workforce pipeline.

LINK to Bill Text | LINK to Senator Reed Press Release with AASPA Quote of Support

BILL HIGHLIGHTS

  • $500 million for states to develop and implement a statewide strategy to meet their educator workforce needs.
  • $500 million to support educator preparation programs and partnerships:
    • Reauthorization of the Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program to support HBCUs and MSIs in expanding and strengthening their educator preparation programs.
    • Establishes an education careers opportunity program to expose middle and high school students to the education profession.
    • Updates and expands the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program to focus on residency programs, strengthen the principal and school leader preparation programs, and enable partnerships to address the need for specialized instructional support personnel.
  • Reduces financial barriers to entering education professions by:
    • Including cost of clinical experience in the cost of attendance in awarding financial aid.
    • Providing education professionals in high need fields credit towards loan repayment as they serve rather than waiting 5 to 10 years to earn forgiveness.
    • Doubles the TEACH Grant to $8,000 per year and provides additional protections and options to prevent the conversion of grants to loans.

TAKE ACTION

CALL or EMAIL your Senators and Representatives. Find your Member of Congress and Senators at www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member. Each office will have a different policy for reaching them that will be on their website. You might be able to email them directly or copy and paste your letter into the form provided. Tell Congress to act!

WHAT TO SAY

[Title and Last Name]:

I am a (your title) in (city/county/school district) and a constituent. I am writing to request your support for the EDUCATORS for America Act (S 3360/HR 6205).

There are serious challenges with the teacher pipeline right now. Low wages for teaching positions have led college students to choose other career paths, and high burnout rates have caused many educators to leave the profession entirely. As older generations leave the workforce, districts are seeing a record number of retirements and are left without any pipeline of recent graduates to fill the open roles. Staffing crises have led to some schools closing entirely for short periods. New and worsening challenges born out of the pandemic have pushed the issue to a breaking point.

The EDUCATORS for America Act would build the capacity of educator preparation programs and partnerships, empower states to develop strategic plans to address their immediate needs, strengthen the workforce pipeline, and reduce financial barriers to entering the education profession. These steps are critical to ensuring we can continue to employ the people that will help our students succeed. 

[INSERT PERSONAL STORY from yourself or your colleagues' struggles with staffing shortages, student loans, etc. to explain why we need funding for the programs listed above]

I encourage you to show your support for our education professionals and the students we serve by cosponsoring the EDUCATORS for America Act.

Thank you,

[Your Name]