Big News! EDUCATORS for America Introduced in Congress

Friday, December 10th, 2021

Dear campus community,

Yesterday, the United States Congress introduced important legislation that, once enacted, will make significant gains in the growth, diversity, retention, and support of our nation’s educator workforce. What’s special about this legislation is that it is the result of a national effort launched by UNI two years ago, operationalizing the expertise and voices of our faculty into a comprehensive future vision for the federal role in educator preparation. 

The Educator Diversity, University and College Attainment, and Teacher Opportunity, Retention, and Success for America Act, or EDUCATORS for America, represents a UNI-led effort that engaged more than 400 educators, scholars, policy leaders, and college and university leaders from every state. Its provisions outline more than $1 billion in grants to states and institutions focused on forging new partnerships and pathways for educators, expanding the TEACH Grant and calling for enhanced institutional stewardship of the program to align with best practices UNI already employs, strengthening the Teacher and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs, and fortifying the data-driven advisory relationship between the U.S. Department of Education and Congress, among other key provisions. Woven throughout each section is a focus on equity—assuring the contours of policy governing educator preparation at the federal level encompass the diverse needs of educators. 
We are grateful for the support of U.S. Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island) and U.S. Representative Alma Adams (North Carolina) who have co-sponsored this legislation in Congress; Congresswoman Cindy Axne (Iowa) is also a co-sponsor of this legislation in the United States House of Representatives. We are honored to be working with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities as our lead partners on this national initiative. We are proud that more than 40 national non-partisan organizations have endorsed this critical legislation. 
We encourage you to review the legislative summary and full text of EDUCATORS for America once published on in the coming days. In addition to working with Congress to develop this legislation, UNI faculty and staff have advised the Biden-Harris Administration on the critical policy actions we need to respond to the significant and longstanding policy challenges facing educator preparation. We also invite you to review a policy memo policy memo we distributed to the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
This has been a monumental effort to reinvigorate the national policy discussion on educator preparation. Please join me in thanking Dean Colleen Mulholland and the many faculty across the university whose expertise informed the development of EDUCATORS for America. Please also join me in thanking Andrew Morse, Chief of Staff and Federal Relations Officer, for guiding the development of the legislation and building a strong national coalition to advance EDUCATORS for America in Congress. And, finally, a huge thanks to the work of all our faculty across the university who prepare educators. It is because of the rich tradition in educator preparation forged by past and current generations of faculty that we find ourselves in a strong position to shape the future of educator preparation in the United States. This legislation represents a game-changer in the policy discussion in Washington, and we will continue to advance policy actions at the state and federal levels that focus on strong support for current and future educators. 
Panther Proud!
Mark Nook