Our nation’s teachers prepare and inspire the next generation of leaders that are critical to our future. Yet for years, our education system has faced challenges in attracting, recruiting, and retaining qualified teachers – challenges that were made worse by the pandemic. As children across the country start the 2022-2023 school year, too many schools are struggling to fill vacancies for teachers, including with qualified teachers, and other critical school professionals – such as bus drivers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and mental health professionals – positions that are essential to help our students recover academically, access the mental health supports they need, and thrive in and out of the classroom.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and support schools in their effort to address teacher shortages as the new school year begins. This announcement includes new commitments from leading job platforms to make it easier for Americans to find opportunities in the education field, and new initiatives from teachers unions and national and state organizations to expand high-quality pathways into the profession for future teachers.
The President has been clear from day one that to address these long-standing staffing challenges facing our schools, exacerbated by the pandemic, teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff need to be paid competitively, and treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, including through improved working conditions for staff and learning conditions for students. Today’s announcements build on this call, and the actions the President has already taken to invest in and support educators across the country and address staffing shortages. The $130 billion in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan directed to the nation’s K-12 schools have allowed school districts across the country to invest in teacher pipeline programs, increase compensation for teachers, and hire more professionals across the education workforce. ARP funding has helped school districts increase the number of school social workers by 54%, increase the number of school counselors by 22% and increase the number of school nurses by 22% compared to years prior to the pandemic. Today’s announcements reflect additional steps by the Administration and leaders across sectors to continue to tackle this challenge.
This afternoon, First Lady Jill Biden, Secretary Cardona, Secretary Walsh, Ambassador Rice, the executive leadership of ZipRecruiter, Handshake, and Indeed, and leaders from the National Governors Association, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education will convene in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the staffing challenges schools are facing, these new actions, and additional ways that the federal government, state and local governments, education organizations and the private sector can strengthen the teaching profession.
Talent Industry Announces New Commitments to Help School Districts Source Talent and Help More Americans Find Jobs in Schools.
Today, leading talent recruitment and job platforms are announcing a series of new actions to make it easier for states and school districts to source, recruit, and hire job seeking teachers and school professionals, and to help more Americans find jobs in education:
- Today ZipRecruiter is launching a new online job portal specifically dedicated to K-12 school jobs. This portal will showcase job openings across public schools throughout the United States, including teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, social workers, mental health counselors, librarians, and more. Schools, districts, and states can partner with ZipRecruiter to have their open roles included for free. The job portal will also feature additional hiring resources including best practices for both job seekers and school districts’ human resource teams.
- Handshake will help college students explore careers in education. In October 2022, Handshake will host a nationwide free virtual event to help current undergraduate students learn about pathways in the field of education, including teachers, guidance counselors, school mental health specialists, and school psychologists. This event will provide information on how educators can make an impact and provide practical advice about building a career in the teaching profession. Alongside the event, Handshake will publish a list of all schools and districts hiring students and college graduates for jobs this year, helping aspiring educators kick off their career search. The Handshake network includes 10 million current and recent students at 1,400 two-and four-year colleges and universities nationwide, including 281,000 who have pursued or are pursuing education degrees.
- Indeed is announcing that it will facilitate virtual hiring fairs for educators throughout the country. These events will specifically focus on the hiring of teachers, administrators, counselors, and other staff. Participating entities will gain access to Indeed’s free suite of hiring tools to manage the end-to-end hiring process, from job postings through interviews.
Biden Administration Announces New Actions and Highlights Resources to Strengthen the Educator Pipeline and Address Shortages.
Today, the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have issued a joint letter to state and local education and workforce leaders encouraging them to take a series of actions to address teacher and school staff shortages and invest in the teaching profession, including:
- Paying teachers a livable and competitive wage. Secretaries Cardona and Walsh are encouraging governors and district leaders to use American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds and the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds to increase teacher pay. Low pay continues to be a significant contributor to a weak teacher pipeline and to a history of high turnover rates. On average, teachers make about 33 percent less than other college-educated professionals. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wages of public school teachers has only increased $29 between 1996 and 2021.
- Expanding high-quality programs that prepare and support teachers, including registered teacher apprenticeship programs. DOL is committing to prioritize the education sector in future apprenticeship funding, including its next round of over $100 million in apprenticeship grants, which will provide critical support for states and other partners looking to start and expand teacher apprenticeship programs. Students need qualified teachers who are prepared to teach them, and who reflect the diversity of our students. Teachers need affordable pathways into the profession. Registered teacher apprenticeship programs allow individuals – including those already working in schools, like teaching assistants – to earn while they learn, receiving pay while they gain teaching skills with the supervision of a mentor teacher, and take coursework to earn their teaching license. This allows teachers to gain robust experience in the classroom before leading their own, and makes becoming a teacher more affordable. Once registered by DOL or their state apprenticeship agency, state and local workforce boards can use Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I funds to support these programs. The Secretaries also encourage state and local workforce boards to collaborate with education systems to address non-instructional staffing shortages in schools.
- States like Tennessee have already used American Rescue Plan funds to invest in and expand registered teacher apprenticeship programs, using immediate resources to make long-term investments in teaching programs in the state that also address current needs. As in Tennessee, registered teacher apprenticeship programs can be used to scale high-quality pathways into the profession, like residencies and Grow Your Own programs. These models provide robust classroom experience for teachers during their training. Grow Your Own programs specifically help districts develop their own teachers, in partnership with institutions of higher education, including by getting teaching assistants, career changers, and high school students on the pathway to becoming teachers.
National Teacher Unions and State Organizations to Expand High-Quality Pathways for Teachers, including Teacher Apprenticeship Programs
National organizations representing teachers, state school chiefs, governors, and teacher colleges are announcing today that they are working together to expand high-quality registered teacher apprenticeship programs, teaching residencies, and Grow Your Own programs.
- The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), and the National Governors Association (NGA) are announcing that they will work together with other partners in the field to identify best practices and support their members in pursuing registered apprenticeships or other key strategies that ensure teacher quality while offering increased pathways for entrance and growth in the profession.
- The Pathways Alliance – a coalition of public and private organizations dedicated to supporting a strong and diverse teacher pipeline – is creating national guidelines for registered teacher apprenticeship programs. These guidelines will help states and school districts establish high-quality registered teacher apprenticeship programs, building upon work currently underway to provide guidelines for high-quality teacher residencies.
As part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to supporting and investing in educators, today the White House is holding a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Day of Action.
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration made temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make sure teachers and school staff can access the loan forgiveness they are eligible for. As part of today’s Day of Action, leading education organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, are working to ensure that school staff across the nation are able to take advantage of the temporary changes to the program. To benefit from the temporary changes, borrowers must apply and certify their employment for the period of time they wish to count toward PSLF using the PSLF Help Tool. For more information, please visit www.PSLF.gov. The temporary changes end on October 31, 2022.The White House is urging eligible teachers to take advantage today before time runs out.