Bennet Plan to Recruit an Army of Teachers to Serve Where They are Needed Most Included in President's Budget

Comes on Heels of Bennet's Letter to the President Pushing for Presidential Teacher Fellows

With more than 1 million teachers set to retire over the next few years, President Barack Obama included in his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s plan to attract the best teachers to the schools where they are needed most and improve the preparation they receive to do this incredibly difficult work. This is the second time in as many years that the Presidential Teaching Fellows (PTF) has been included in the President’s budget proposal he sent to Congress.

“As a former superintendent of schools, I have seen first-hand what study after study has told us: Nothing makes a bigger difference in student learning than great teachers,” said Bennet. “If we’re going to compete in the global economy and provide every kid in America with a world-class education, we need to ensure we are attracting, training and retaining excellent teachers in all our schools. That’s why I’m so pleased to see this common-sense plan included in the President’s budget proposal. I will continue to push for Congress to pass the Presidential Teacher Fellows program, so we move closer to our goal of every child in America attending a great school with a great teacher.”

Under Bennet’s original Presidental Teacher Corps (PTC) proposal, preparation programs would compete to train diverse candidates to form a teacher corps. The preparation programs and teachers in the corps would be held accountable for their results. Teachers who serve in high-need schools and demonstrate that they are highly effective based on multiple measures of student learning and instruction could get a new kind of portable license. 

The President’s proposal calls for the creation of a Presidential Teaching Fellow (PTF) Program, which essentially mirrors Bennet’s Presidential Teacher Corps (PTC) proposal, and allocates $190 million over the next five years to support a national effort to support talented teachers and the best preparation programs. 

Last week, Bennet sent the President a letter urging him to include the Presidential Teacher Fellow Program in his FY2013 budget proposal.

Last year, Bennet successfully pushed for his plan to be included in the President’s 2012 budget proposal. However, the Budget Control Act Congress passed as part of the debt ceiling debate did not include the PTC or the PTF.

The Department of Education also has included key elements of Bennet’s Presidential Teacher Corps Proposal in its reforms to improve America’s teacher preparation programs.

Full text of the letter Bennet sent to the President is included below.

Dear Mr. President:

Our continued leadership in the global economy depends on our ability to provide every child in America with a world-class education.  Study after study has shown that nothing makes a bigger difference in student learning than great teaching.  For this reason, your Administration has rightly made recruiting, training, supporting and retaining great teachers a top priority. Thank you for your leadership on this effort. 

During my time in the Senate I have worked with a diverse array of education groups and leaders to craft a proposal to create a Presidential Teacher Corps (PTC).  My proposal would mobilize an army of 100,000 talented teachers to work in high-need schools over the next 5 years. 

I was incredibly pleased that you included a proposal to establish the Presidential Teaching Fellows (PTF) program in your budget for Fiscal Year 2012.  The PTF program incorporated many key elements of my proposal, including driving accountability for results and upgrading licensure and certification standards.  PTF would also repurpose existing funds to provide scholarships for prospective teachers to attend high performing preparation programs.  In addition, states would have an opportunity to establish a portable license for highly effective teachers, another key element of the PTC proposal.  Presidential Teacher Fellows would 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 three years in a high-need school or high-need subject, such as math, science or special education.

Congress failed to come together last year to enact this common-sense proposal.  But this idea is too important not to try again.  Please include the Presidential Teaching Fellows Program in the Administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013. For my part, I will work tirelessly to ensure this proposal is approved with bipartisan support so that we move closer to our goal of ensuring that every child in America attends a great school with a great teacher.