Press Releases & Statements

AACTE Celebrates New Bill Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu

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Proposed Grant Program Would Offer Better Access to Quality Instruction for High-Need Students

(Sept. 14, 2011, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) today celebrates a promising legislative development through Rep. Judy Chu's (D-CA) introduction of H.R. 2902, "The Equal Access to Quality Education Act." The Association has been working collaboratively with Rep. Chu's office on the bill, which would establish a competitive grant program to ensure that students in high-need schools have equal access to a quality education delivered by an effective, diverse teaching workforce.

The bill proposes that the U.S. Department of Education award grants to entities to form partnerships in high-need areas, working to develop and strengthen high-quality pathways for teachers and educational leadership professionals. Requirements also include designing professional induction programs for teachers and providing a stable and collaborative learning environment for both educators and students. Eligible partnerships would have to include a high-need local education agency (LEA) and an institution of higher education.

Funding would establish or support educator preparation programs that incorporate a one-year residency in a high-need school of the partnering district and that require participants to teach in that same school district for three years after they graduate. Grantees would also have to create or support a teacher retention program that provides teachers with high-quality professional development, mentor teachers and other new-teacher supports and leadership opportunities.

Other optional uses for funding would include providing support to mentor teachers, preparing general education teachers to serve students with disabilities and English language learners, developing professional learning communities, and other manners of supporting high-quality professional development and educator preparation. Under the bill, priority would be given to grant applicants that demonstrate the use of a valid and reliable teacher performance assessment; include an institution of higher education that is a Historically Black College or University, Hispanic-Serving Institution or Asian-American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution; include an institution of higher education that is eligible for TEACH grants; or offer a plan to recruit local teachers of color or individuals with disabilities.

"We applaud Representative Chu for her steadfast leadership in putting forth this important legislation," said Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE. "AACTE has encouraged partnerships between our member institutions, which produce such a significant majority of the education workforce, and high-need K-12 school districts as a critical component of improving program quality and effectiveness. This bill helps to facilitate the educator preparation profession's desire to produce teachers who are adequately equipped to provide high-quality, relevant instruction to all students."

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AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuels its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.