Earlier this month, Sens. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced legislation that would encourage students to undertake a career in education. The Teaching Fellows Act of 2002, S. 3080 would create two programs that would offer tuition assistance and teaching scholarships to participants.
The first part of the bill would provide a teaching scholarship that students could apply for after their senior year of high school or their second year of college. Selected students would receive at least $6,500 per year toward college expenses in return for teaching five years in a low-performing school in their state after graduation. The second program would provide grants to people already in the education community-such as teaching assistants-for the additional schooling necessary to receive a four-year degree and a teaching certification.
In its report, Every Child a Graduate, the Alliance for Excellent Education made the case for a similar program that would use federal funds to recruit college juniors with a 3.4 grade point average or higher in their major to teach in high-poverty schools. Students would receive up to $20,000 over two years in grants to help them complete their studies and become certified to teach in their major.
“It is estimated that 1 million of the nation’s 3 million teachers will retire in the next five years,” said Lugar. “Schools will need to hire over 2 million new teachers in the next decade. The Teaching Fellows Act would create two programs to encourage the best and brightest to enter and remain in the teaching profession.”
While the bill isn’t likely to see floor action before Congress adjourns for the year, Sen. Bingaman hopes to include a version of the bill as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act next year.
OERI IS A-OK: Education Bill Sent to President for Approval
Last week Congress passed a bill to reauthorize the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) and sent it to President Bush for his signature. Under the new bill, the Education Sciences Reform Act, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement will be replaced by an Academy of Educational Sciences. The legislation also creates three separate centers under the academy-one for research, one for evaluation, and one for statistics.
Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), the Education Reform Subcommittee Chairman and author of the legislation, said the new bill “addresses what [he has] come to know as serious shortcomings in the field of education research, including the funding and dissemination of questionable studies, programs, and practices, and an overly bureaucratic office with no real sense of mission.”