While students and families across the U.S. enjoyed time off during the summer months, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Labor (DOL) were busy! In late July, they introduced new guidelines for teacher apprenticeships; new investments and funding opportunities; and more.
Like most industries, school districts have been facing a multi-year labor crunch marked by challenges hiring teachers, aides, medical personnel, bus drivers, and other staff. The situation worsened during the COVID crisis, which saw public education lose 9% of or 730,000 jobs. At the same time, future pipelines of teacher talent looked to be coming up short. Combined, these make the July announcements even more valuable. Here’s what they included…
The National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (NGS), developed by The Pathways Alliance, are designed to “guide states, school districts, and other apprenticeship sponsors to align their programs to quality standards for K-12 teachers. It also provides a framework that partners can use to develop state specific program standards and provide for expedited development and approval of new apprenticeship programs.” This is part of a long-term plan to strengthen and diversify the teacher workforce, while addressing the teacher shortage, by expanding the number of states with quality apprenticeship programs that reduce costs associated with getting licensed.
A new policy brief from the DOE, entitled Raise the Bar: Eliminating Educator Shortages through Increased Compensation, High-Quality and Affordable Preparation and Teacher Leadership, calls “on state and local leaders to utilize five key policy levers to Raise the Bar and eliminate educator shortages.” Levers include increasing compensation, expanding educator preparation programs, promoting career advancement and leadership opportunities, providing ongoing learning opportunities, and increasing diversity of educators.
Over $27 million in new awards were announced by the DOE. Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants totaling $14.5 million focus on strengthening preparation programs and supports for new teachers. Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) funds of $12.7 million will “support the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators” while also enabling the creation, expansion, and evaluation of practices that can be replicated and scaled.
In addition, the DOL awarded over $65 million in grants to 45 states and territories for apprenticeship programs in education and other sectors (indications are that 35 states are using the funds to address education sector needs). At the same time, the DOL introduced RTI International as a new Registered Apprenticeship intermediary focused on launching, promoting, and expanding programs for k-12 education.
While you and your team become familiar with these new tools, resources, and opportunities, you can depend on RBT CPAs to address all of your accounting, tax, audit, and advisory needs. To learn more, give us a call today.
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