Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s proposal to mobilize a new generation of talented teachers to work in high-need schools gained key backing from the White House as the President unveiled a budget for fiscal year 2012 that incorporates key elements of Bennet’s plan.
Bennet, a former schools superintendent, wrote a letter to President Obama last week urging him to include the proposal, which calls for the creation of Presidential Teacher Corps tasked with the responsibility of recruiting and training new, talented teachers for high need schools.
“Making a budget is about setting priorities, and supporting our nation’s talented individuals and ensuring they get the quality training they need is a national priority,” said Bennet. “Nothing makes a greater difference to student learning than great teaching. We need to take a 21st century approach to hiring, training and retaining excellent teachers in our classrooms, and we need them to go and stay in the classrooms where they are needed most.”
The Administration’s budget calls for the creation of a Presidential Teaching Fellow (PTF) Program, which essentially mirrors Bennet’s Presidential Teacher Corps (PTC) proposal, and allocates $185 million to support a national effort to support talented teachers and the best preparation programs.
Incorporating the key elements of the PTC, the PTF Program would provide states grants for schools with the most effective teacher preparation programs to award scholarships of up to $10,000 to talented individuals. To receive these grants, states would commit to hold preparation programs accountable for their results; upgrade licensure and certification standards; and would be encouraged to provide recognition for portable certification for effective classroom teachers.
Presidential Teaching Fellows would, in turn, use their scholarships to pay for their training at one of the state’s most effective programs and be required to teach for at least 3 years in a high-need school or high-need subject, such as math, science or students with disabilities.
“There is no harder, or more important, job than teaching, especially in a high-need school. While we work to recruit an army of new teachers, we must push the system to change and improve,” Bennet continued. “We need to attract a new generation of talented teachers while removing unnecessary and burdensome barriers to the profession.”