Press Releases & Statements

AACTE Commends Increased Focus on Teacher Preparation, STEM Initiatives in President’s FY13 Budget

Official AACTE Statement
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Association Calls for Maintaining Funding for TQP and TEACH Grants

(February 16, 2012, Washington, D.C.) - The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is encouraged by President Obama's Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget for its concentration on increased funding for education, particularly in the areas of preparing teachers and enhancing STEM education. The budget proposes a $1.7 billion, or 2.5 percent, increase in discretionary spending for federal programs in the U.S. Department of Education.

The Administration makes a necessary priority of increasing and improving STEM education teachers, with nearly $150 million allotted for an Effective Teaching and Learning STEM program. That plan includes $80 million for a STEM teacher and leader training and professional development program with the goal of preparing 100,000 STEM teachers over the next 10 years. This would be a great complement to the impressive work that institutions of higher education, such as the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Kansas and Rutgers University, are doing to prepare effective STEM educators. The President's budget also proposes $30 million for the Hawkins Centers of Excellence program, an investment to strengthen educator preparation programs in our nation's minority serving institutions. This is a wise investment that will increase the diversity of our educator workforce.

In addition, the budget calls for a $5 billion investment in the recruitment, preparation and support of new teachers. This new competitive funding initiative, named the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Project, would support states and districts that commit to pursuing bold reforms at every stage of the teaching profession. The Department of Education has noted that the primary goal of the RESPECT Project would be to establish a new generation of well-prepared, bright, diverse and capable individuals to a teaching profession that is respected among the ranks of medicine, law and engineering. AACTE has long shared this goal and believes that teaching should be viewed as a career-long profession.

While more specific plans of the RESPECT Project are still unfolding, AACTE hopes the program would support university-school district partnerships around workforce development; valid, reliable measures of productivity at the state level such as the Teacher Performance Assessment; results-generating recruitment programs at institutions; and other similar efforts that are vital to the Administration achieving its goal to advance the teaching profession. See AACTE's statement on the RESPECT Project here.

Many of the programs in the FY13 budget are heading in the right direction for education. However, there is concern among AACTE members about the proposed consolidation of proven programs, such as the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants (Title II HEA) and TEACH grants (Title IV HEA). TQP grantees serve an essential role in developing teachers for high-need school districts. Through these grants, universities work in partnership with local high-need schools, where teacher candidates experience hands-on clinical programs, similar to those of medical professions, learning the nuances of diverse classroom settings under a master teacher. TEACH grants have resulted in more than 60,000 top-performing teacher candidates being prepared for four-year commitments to teach in high-need fields in the most challenging schools. Rather than being consolidated, the TQP and TEACH grants should be viewed by the Administration as an integral component in the strategy to raise the status of the teaching profession and improve student achievement in our nation's most high-need schools.

AACTE and its members are continuing to work on an aggressive reform agenda that reflects many of the President's and the Department of Education's priorities. The Association looks forward to working with both the Administration and Congress during the FY13 budget process.


AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.