June 19, 2019 In The News, Media

Booker, Norcross, Pascrell Introduce Legislation to Address Growing Teacher Shortage

InsiderNJ.com
June 19, 2019

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Congressmen Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), today reintroduced legislation that addresses the country’s real and growing teacher shortage by completely overhauling the current student loan forgiveness program and boosting financial assistance for teachers. 

The Supporting the Teaching Profession Through Revitalizing Investments in Valuable Educators (STRIVE) Act would overhaul the student loan forgiveness program by providing incremental loan forgiveness each year to public school teachers who teach in low-income schools. After seven years, such teachers would have their student loans completely cancelled. The overhaul would be retroactive, so current teachers who have been teaching for at least seven years would also have their loans cancelled.

The current student loan forgiveness program for most teachers who work in low-income schools only offers up to $5,000 of repayment assistance after five years of consecutive work (math, science, and special education teachers have the opportunity to receive more – up to $17,500 – but this is still significantly less than what today’s legislation would offer). And currently, besides a few exceptions, teachers who work less than five years receive nothing.

The bill introduced today would also increase financial assistance to teachers by reimbursing low-income teachers for their licensing and certification fees which can be upwards of $400. It would also boost professional development opportunities for teachers by increasing and mandatorily funding Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and setting aside a portion of that funding specifically targeted toward recruiting and retaining schools leaders of color. And it would expand existing teacher prep and training programs to include early childhood educators.

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