Kennedy, Murphy introduce bipartisan bill to improve access to comprehensive training for future teachers

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced the Teacher, Principal and Leader Residency Access Act to improve access to training for college students who aspire to become teachers and leaders in America’s schools.

“The effects of teacher shortages are devastating: Schools are closing, and America’s kids aren’t getting the education they need to succeed after graduation. Kids deserve to learn from capable teachers, but many young educators don’t get practical experience before they enter the classroom. Louisiana’s future rests on education, and we can improve schools by giving educators access to the training they need,” said Kennedy.

“Nothing prepares you like on-the-job experience, but college and graduate students who want to work as student teachers aren’t currently eligible for federal work-study compensation. This legislation would get more aspiring educators into the classroom while they’re still pursuing their degree. Expanding access to teacher residency programs like the one we have in Connecticut will help tackle the educator shortage and improve student outcomes,” said Murphy.

The U.S. is currently facing a shortage of teachers. Due to this, in 2017–18, more than 100,000 classrooms in the United States were staffed by instructors who were unqualified to teach. This legislation would expand the federal work-study programs at institutions of higher education to include work-study programs that compensate students serving in a teacher or school leader residency program.

The bill would provide access to training for low-income college students because programs that provide these types of work-based experiences are often out of reach for students from low-income families.

The Federal Work Study (FWS) Program funds part-time employment for undergraduate, graduate and professional students who require financial aid. The Teacher, Principal and Leader Residency Access Act would expand the FWS Program to cover residencies for students who want to become teachers or school leaders. It would also prioritize helping low-income students access the FWS Program.

Full text of the legislation is available here.  

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