Press Releases

Trahan, Hayes, Bustos Introduce Legislation to Bolster Support for Educators, Establish Teacher Pipeline

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, joined with Congresswomen Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) to introduce the Supporting Teachers with Residency Opportunities and New Grants (STRONG) Act, legislation that will reduce the overwhelming burden being shouldered by teachers during COVID-19 while also providing students with much needed individualized opportunities for instruction.

“Teachers, just like many of our other frontline heroes, continue to overcome daily challenges during this pandemic while still providing quality education to our children. It’s time that they receive the support they need and deserve,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “The STRONG Act will give teachers the long overdue assistance necessary to deliver a safe, quality education to kids. It will also establish a strong pipeline of teachers ready to hit the ground running in classrooms -- or the remote environment -- across America. As a mom to two school-aged daughters who witnesses the sacrifices teachers are making for our kids firsthand, I know it’s time Congress act to support our educators. This legislation should be voted on without delay so we can implement these solutions immediately.”

“During the uncertainty of a global pandemic, we need to find innovative ways to attract educators to the profession. Teaching Residency Programs offer alternative pathways for college students already pursuing a degree.” said Congresswoman Hayes, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee and the 2016 National Teacher of the Year. “Residency programs strengthen the teaching foundation and streamline the process to securing stable jobs. This legislation creates a pipeline for educators in underserved school districts and places additional support in classrooms, stabilizing the future of the K-12 educator workforce. I thank Congresswoman Trahan for her leadership on this critical issue.”

“The teacher vacancy crisis impacts our most vulnerable children, often hurting children in underserved communities such as communities of color and rural areas. 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. “As schools in Illinois and across the country have continued to work to safely reopen, COVID-19 has compounded the number of empty teacher positions. I’m proud to introduce the STRONG Act today, to help fill the gap and fast-track bringing desperately-needed teachers into the workforce.”

Endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the STRONG Actprovides immediate assistance to teachers who are under immense pressure to deliver quality education to students in virtual and hybrid 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, either virtually or in-person, to provide additional assistance and much needed back up to our teachers.

The legislation also authorizes $600 million in funding for programs, including Teacher Residencies, that bolster teacher preparation 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, many of whom are parents or part of the “sandwich generation,” are able to continue doing their jobs knowing that their safety and 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. A fact sheet on the legislation can be accessed HERE.