WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Lori Trahan (MA-03), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) reintroduced the Supporting Teachers with Residency Opportunities and New Grants (STRONG) Act, legislation endorsed by the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions to alleviate the burden placed on educators over the past 18 months and strengthen the pipeline of America’s next generation of teachers.
“It is important for the education field to attract and retain professionals who are truly invested in the future of our children. The pipeline can be upheld with alternative options like Teaching Residency Programs, which target students early,” said Congresswoman Hayes, a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor. “Teaching Residency Programs support future educators by providing a solid foundation and infusing the pipeline to stabilize the K-12 workforce. I thank Congresswoman Trahan for her leadership on this critical issue.”
"Throughout the pandemic, teachers – like so many frontline heroes – have overcome daily challenges while continuing to provide quality education to our children. As the mom of two school-aged daughters, I’ve seen the immense sacrifices teachers have made for their students firsthand. It’s long past time for them to receive the help they deserve,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “The STRONG Act will provide teachers with long-overdue support and address our ongoing difficulty with teacher retention by establishing a strong pipeline of teachers ready to hit the ground running in classrooms across America. This legislation should be voted on without delay so that we can implement these commonsense solutions immediately."
“Teacher shortages often hurt our most vulnerable - our children in communities of color and rural areas - and the pandemic has only exacerbated this growing problem. When we sell our teachers short by leaving them underpaid and undervalued, we sell our next generation short,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. “Our schools can't remain open if our classrooms have no educators to fill them. That's why I’m proud to introduce the STRONG Act, to help fill the gap and increase the number of desperately-needed teachers into the workforce.”
The STRONG Act would provide immediate assistance to teachers who have been under immense pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver quality education to students in dynamic learning environments by expanding eligibility for undergraduate students and recent graduates with a teaching- or education-related major to enter into Teacher Residency programs – fast-tracking prospective teachers into the current workforce to provide additional assistance and much needed back up to our teachers.
The legislation also authorizes $600 million in funding for programs that bolster teacher preparation such as Teacher Residencies and incentivizes participation by prospective teachers in those programs by expanding eligibility for undergraduate students enrolled in a Teacher Residency to immediately participate in the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program. The STRONG Act is key to ensuring that teachers can continue doing their jobs knowing that their ability to succeed in their roles is taken just as seriously as that of their students.
The text of the legislation as introduced can be accessed HERE.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.