Secretary Cardona Unveils U.S. Plan to Elevate Teaching

U.S Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona laid out a new nationwide strategy to support and elevate the teaching profession as the sector struggles with hiring and retention.

At a June 9 address and fireside chat at the Bank Street College of Education in New York, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona unveiled a new plan to recruit, prepare, and retain great teachers as states across the country struggle to do so.

The department’s vision focuses on three areas:

  • Recruiting diverse, high-qualified teachers into the profession and investing in high-quality teacher pipeline programs;
  • Supporting educators’ professional development to ensure our nation’s students are receiving high-quality education to meet the demands of today’s economy;
  • Investing in strategies to retain high-quality educators and keep them in the profession long-term.

To fulfill those goals, the department will pursue five strategies to recruit, develop, and retain high-qualified teachers in the coming months and years:

  • Investing in a strong and diverse teacher pipeline, including increasing access to affordable, comprehensive, evidence-based preparation programs, such as teacher residencies, Grow Your Own programs, including those that begin in high school, and apprenticeship programs;
  • Supporting teachers in earning initial or additional certification in high-demand areas such as special education and bilingual education or advanced certifications to better meet the needs of their students;
  • Helping teachers pay off their student loans, including through loan forgiveness and service scholarship programs;
  • Supporting teachers by providing them and students with the resources they need to succeed, including mentoring for early career teachers, high-quality curricular materials, and providing students with access to guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, mental health professionals, and other specialists;
  • Creating opportunities for teacher advancement and leadership, including participating in distributive leadership models, and serving as instructional coaches and mentors.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) issued a fact sheet on how American Rescue Plan (ARP) fund investments in our nation’s educators can be sustained for the long-term using other existing sources of federal funds.

Furthermore, in order to support these efforts, USDE is asking for substantial financial support:

To advance these efforts, the Department’s fiscal year 2023 budget request includes nearly $600 million in new funds—over funds included in the FY22 Omnibus—for a total of almost $3 billion—to recruit, support, and retain a talented, diverse workforce. These investments include $350 million to focus the Education Innovation and Research program on a new charge to improve teacher recruitment and retention; $132 million for Teacher Quality Partnerships to improve preparation for teachers (an additional $73 million); $20 million for the Hawkins Centers of Excellence to increase the number of diverse and talented teachers prepared at our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities (an additional $12 million); and $250 million for IDEA Part D to better prepare and support our special education teachers (an additional $155 million).

In Maryland, local school districts have tested and implemented a combination of the policies discussed above. Several LEAs have also attempted to address the state’s teacher shortage via financial incentives like retention and hiring bonuses, while others have increased minimum pay for school support staff. Others have adjusted school calendars to incorporate more administrative days off and teacher wellness bonus days.

School staffing challenges was also a topic of concern during the 2022 legislative session, during which several initiatives to boost hiring and retention of school staff were considered and one bill was passed to provide support staff with $500 bonuses in fiscal years 2023 and 2024 and to study the issue of staffing shortages and pay.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more on trending topics in public education and relevant issues for county government.

Secretary Cardona’s remarks were livestream on USDE’s Facebook page.

Review the USDE fact sheet on the teacher hiring and retention strategy.

Read about the new vision and strategy.