The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) awarded $25 million in grant funds to teacher preparation programs through the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program this school year.
The TQP grant program is the only federal program that directly funds teacher preparation programs at universities, colleges, and nonprofits in high-need communities. This year’s TQP grant recipients included 22 teacher preparation programs, the funds intended to help them successfully prepare, place, train, and retain effective teachers and develop strong partnerships with the school districts they serve. The programs recruit undergraduates, “fifth-year” level students, and new-to-teaching individuals in teaching residency programs. The partner school districts provide instructional coaching, mentors, professional development, and on-going supports to better prepare future educators.
This year’s focus was on grow your own (GYO) programs which recruit individuals in the community and schools with strong academic and professional backgrounds to the teaching profession. It also includes programs which encourage high school students to get interested in education and choose a teaching career while earning early college credits. GYO programs are a great way to enhance educator diversity.
Additionally, the Department included a leadership program priority encouraging grant applicants to add effective school leadership preparation programs. The programs prepare individuals for careers as superintendents, principals, early childhood education program directors, or other school leaders including individuals preparing to work in rural school communities who perform multiple duties.
Federal government support
These grants demonstrate the commitment from the current administration and the USDE to build a strong and diverse teacher workforce. The Department noted the teacher staffing shortages and challenges schools are facing by issuing a joint letter with the Department of Labor (DOL) to state and local education and workforce leaders encouraging them to take actions to address the teacher staff shortages and invest in the teaching profession. These actions include:
- Establishing a registered apprenticeship program for teaching
- Increasing collaboration across workforce and education systems
- Paying educators competitively
The USDE also released a report detailing how states and districts spent their Title II, Part A of the ESEA grant funds during the 2020–2021 school year, totaling $2 billion annually. These funds are dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of teachers, principals, and school leaders. Professional development was the most popular use of the funds by school districts followed by recruiting, hiring, and retaining educators.
The USDE is providing substantial grant funds and teacher education preparation program guidance to tackle the local teacher shortage and the dwindling supply of quality teachers. Recognizing the value of supporting teachers and all school staff at the national level is important, as well as from the state and local levels to resolve these issues.
Implementing innovative teacher preparation programs in partnership with school districts and applying for federal grant money through the TQP grant program can increase the number of effective teachers and provide quality educators for students in your local community.
For more information on the TQP grant program visit the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Teacher Quality Partnership Program.
Cheryl Hoover is an HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Cheryl an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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