Federal Policy and Legislation

Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act (HEA) authorizes many federal student financial aid programs and competitive grants to support innovation in higher education, reporting requirements for institutions, and much more. The current statute was signed into law in August 2008 and included substantive changes impacting educator preparation.

Title II of HEA emphasizes strengthening the clinical components of preparation programs and ensuring that all candidates are prepared to teach students with special needs and English language learners. Part A of Title II includes provisions on program accountability and evaluation (including program data collection, state and institutional report cards, and identifying low-performing programs). Also featured in Part A is the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform teacher preparation in concert with higher education.

Part B of Title II features provisions for increasing educator diversity, educator use of technology in classrooms, and the creation of an adjunct teacher corps to recruit and train individuals with a subject matter expertise to staff high-need fields. Additionally, Part B includes a grant program to prepare general education teachers to more effectively educate students with disabilities. However, these programs have not received funding to support the goals of the programs.

AACTE engages with Congress as the respective committees continue deliberating the reauthorization of HEA. Chairman Lamar Alexander of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and Chairwoman Virginia Foxx of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have expressed their intention to reauthorize HEA during the 115th Congress.

The following is a list of HEA-related hearings from the 114th and 115th Congresses:

U.S. House

U.S. Senate (Note: Each of these Senate committee hearings was held during the 114th Congress)

The Education Preparation Reform Act: Reauthorizing Title II of HEA

AACTE, along with other higher education and PK-12 associations, supports the Educator Preparation Reform Act (EPRA), which reauthorizes Title II of HEA. EPRA includes expanding the Teacher Quality Partnership grants to reach principals and other school personnel, streamlines Title II data collection, deepens the incentive for states to identify low-performing teacher preparation programs, and makes key changes to the TEACH grant program.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) reintroduced EPRA in early August 2017 (S. 1694 and H.R. 3636, respectively).

Last Updated August 2017

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