By: Melissa Hanson
Congresswoman Lori Trahan has introduced legislation that would help support teachers during the coronavirus pandemic, which would authorize $6 billion in funding for programs including teacher residencies.
Trahan, who represents Massachusetts' third congressional district and is a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, joined with Congresswomen Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Cheri Bustos of Illinois to introduce the Supporting Teachers with Residency Opportunities and New Grants (STRONG) Act.
“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,” Trahan said in a statement.
“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," Trahan said. "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.”
With the legislation, eligibility for undergraduate students and recent graduates with a teaching or education major to enter into teacher residency programs would expand, helping to fast-track teachers into the current workforce, Trahan’s office said.
The act would allow undergraduate students enrolled in a teacher residency to enter into the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and authorize $600 million in funding to support teacher residencies and teacher preparation.
Amid the pandemic, teachers across the country are teaching both in-person and remotely. In Massachusetts, education officials and Gov. Charlie Baker have urged communities with low coronavirus transmission rates to bring students back into classrooms.
“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,” Trahan’s office said in the statement.
Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers endorse the act, according to the statement.