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Letter to Congress from Teach Plus and 52 Partner Organizations: Support Teacher Investments in the American Families Plan

July 30, 2021

The Honorable Bernard Sanders Chairman
Senate Committee on the Budget 624 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC, 20510
The Honorable Lindsey Graham Ranking Member
Senate Committee on the Budget 624 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC, 20510
The Honorable John Yarmuth Chairman
House Committee on the Budget 204-E Cannon House Office Building Washington DC, 20515
The Honorable Jason Smith Ranking Member
House Committee on the Budget 204-E Cannon House Office Building Washington DC, 20515

 

Dear Chairman Sanders, Ranking Member Graham, Chairman Yarmuth, and Ranking Member Smith:

Every portion of our great nation, be it rural, urban or suburban – be it in the south, north, east or west is invested in educating our children to ensure a successful future for our country. Yet the education workforce, which is tasked with carrying out this important responsibility, is shrinking. Even before the COVID pandemic, over 100,000 classrooms were staffed by substitutes or teachers who had not received comprehensive preparation or full certification. The critical and pervasive shortage of teachers, especially in areas like special education, bilingual education, and teachers of English Learners, have caused some districts to cancel or postpone much needed summer programs. The pipeline for the future also looks bleak, as enrollment in educator preparation programs has declined significantly. The cost of higher education compared to the relatively low salaries for educators is prohibitive. For students of color and first generation college going students, this challenge is acute. Even those who choose to pursue the education profession too often leave after just a few years, as their support is limited and opportunities for professional growth are few. For educators, especially educators of color, the lack of financial and professional support can also impact their mental and financial well-being.

Students in all types of school districts – high-poverty and low-poverty, urban and rural, large and small – suffer because of these teacher shortages. We know that schools serving students of color and students from families with low incomes have inequitable access to well-prepared, experienced, and certified teachers.

We need robust, systemic, investments in the educator workforce that will help our country address inequities that have existed for decades, and rebuild from the pandemic in an equitable manner so all students have access to a well-prepared, diverse, experienced, stable, and supported educator workforce.

The American Families Plan lays out a comprehensive plan for addressing teacher shortages by supporting prospective and current teachers throughout their careers by:

  • Investing in comprehensive educator preparation, while ensuring affordability;
  • Supporting accomplished teachers by providing them with leadership opportunities, including opportunities to mentor new teachers; and 
  • Underwriting the cost of obtaining high-need certifications and certifications associated with greater effectiveness. 

At this moment there is an opportunity for historic investment that has the power to transform the education profession and level long-standing inequities in student access to great educators. We urge you to support President Biden’s $9 billion proposal for investing in the educator workforce. 

Sincerely,

AASA, The School Superintendents Association 
ACTFL 
Alliance for Excellent Education 
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education 
American Federation of Teachers 
ASCD 
Bank Street College of Education 
Californians Together 
Center for American Progress 
Center for Learner Equity 
Children Now 
Concord NH Showing Up for Racial Justice 
Council of Administrators of Special Education 
Council for Exceptional Children 
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
EDGE Consulting Partners 
The Education Trust 
HACU-Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Higher Education Consortium for Special Education 
Institute for Educational Leadership 
International Society for Technology in Education 
KnowledgeWorks 
Latinos For Education 
Learning Forward 
Monmouth University School of Education 
National Association of Elementary School Principals 
National Association of Secondary School Principals 
National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 
National Center for Learning Disabilities 
National Center for Teacher Residencies 
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) 
National Down Syndrome Society 
National Education Association 
National Science Teaching Association 
National Writing Project 
PDK International 
Portland Empowered 
Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) 
Prepared To Teach 
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK) 
Public Advocates 
Rural School and Community Trust 
The Southern Education Foundation 
State Higher Education Executive Officers Association StriveTogether 
Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children TEACHMEducation Group Inc. 
Teach Plus 
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis 
TNTP 
UnidosUS

cc:

The Honorable Charles Schumer Senate Majority Leader
S-221, The Capitol Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Minority Leader
S-230, The Capitol Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader
H-204, The Capitol Washington, DC 20515