This week, the Department of Education is announcing new awards to help recruit, prepare, develop, and retain a strong, effective and diverse teacher workforce for classrooms across the country through the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program. This year’s investment includes 22 new five-year grants totaling $24.8 million through its TQP program.
“At the U.S. Department of Education, we recognize the value of supporting our nation’s educators, and we have a responsibility to providing resources and opportunities that promote a diverse educator workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These programs help prepare, place, develop, and retain effective teachers and leaders in our schools and classrooms. Our students need quality educators now more than ever to address their academic and mental health needs.”
The announcement builds on the recent White House meeting on addressing school staffing shortages, and comes as Secretary Cardona, joined by the First Lady Jill Biden, will meet with teachers and teachers-in-training who are participating in leading teacher pipeline programs in Tennessee and North Carolina.
The TQP program funds teacher preparation programs in high-need communities at colleges and universities for the undergraduate, “fifth-year” level, and for teaching residency programs for individuals new to teaching with strong academic and professional backgrounds. The central feature of all TQP grantees is a strong partnership between the teacher preparation program and the school districts they serve, which is often facilitated by mentor teachers that coach and prepare incoming educators. Additionally, the Department included in this year’s competition a Leadership Program priority which will provide an opportunity for applicants to add effective school leadership programs that will prepare individuals enrolled or preparing to enroll in those programs for careers as superintendents, principals, early childhood education program directors, or other school leaders (including individuals preparing to work in rural school communities who may perform multiple duties in addition to the role of a school leader).
In addition, numerous awardees responded to an invitational priority, focused on the establishment of Grow Your Own Programs. These programs encourage members of the community to pursue teaching careers while also enhancing educator diversity, reflecting the Department’s interest in learning from applicants proposing Grow Your Own (GYO) projects.
Just last month, Secretary Cardona, alongside First Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and Ambassador Susan Rice met with teacher unions and partner organizations to discussing the staffing challenges schools are facing. The Department also issued a joint letter with the U.S. Department of Labor to state and local education and workforce leaders encouraging them to take a series of actions to address teacher and school staff shortages and invest in the teaching profession.
The Department also recently released a report detailing how states and district spent funds under Title II, Part A of the ESEA in school year (SY) 2020-2021. The Title II, Part A program provides more than $2 billion annually to states and districts to improve the quality and effectiveness of their teachers, principals, and other school leaders. The 2020-2021 report compiles results from surveys of all states and a representative sample of districts.
Key findings from this year’s report:
• Professional development was the most popular use of Title II, Part A funds by school districts. Eighty percent of districts reported funding professional development, representing 57 percent of all district-level funds. The next most common use of funds was for activities to recruit and retain effective educators (34 percent of districts, and 17 percent of total funds).
• States spent a larger share of their Title II-A funds on recruiting, hiring, and retaining effective educators in 2020-2021 than in 2019-2020. They also spent more program funds than in previous years on Internet-based professional development and less on attendance at professional conferences.
• Title II, Part A program funds that remain with state agencies for state-level use were most often spent on program administration, monitoring, and technical assistance. Forty-nine states used funds for these activities, representing 35 percent of all state-level funds.