Senator Al Franken introduced last week the Supporting Future Educators Act to address teacher shortages, retain teachers and increase teacher diversity.

Allowable uses of funds for this federal legislation would include:

  1. Residency licensure programs for paraprofessionals working in a school.
    These programs prepare future teachers to meet the unique needs of the children and youth in the district and school in which they are already working. They can support recruitment of bilingual teachers, special needs educators, and a generally more diverse education workforce to match the diversity of the students they serve.
  2. Additional coursework for certified teachers seeking licensure in another field.
    This would help to address teacher shortage in rural communities where teachers often have to teach more than one subject area.
  3. Additional credit requirements to teach dual credit and concurrent enrollment programs.
  4. Housing supplements or special housing programs to support prospective teachers who complete their student teaching placements in high-need districts.

* A portion of the Strengthen-Our-Schools program funds would be specifically designated for addressing teacher shortage challenges in rural school districts.

MREA has been a strong advocate on this issue. Minnesota already has taken action on two of the provisions:

  1. The para-to-teacher program at SMSU is a residency licensure programs for paraprofessionals working in a school.
  2. 180NLINE and statewide support for concurrent enrollment are meeting the additional credit requirements needed by teachers to meet requirements to teach dual- and concurrent-enrollment programs.

MREA commends Sen. Franken for the bill and for establishing a rural set-aside as rural districts do not have grant writers and do work like this in collaboratives such as service cooperatives and ed districts. Follow the progress of Supporting Future Educators SF 1565