Trone, Schneider Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

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June 5, 2019
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hannah Muldavin, Hannah.Muldavin@mail.house.gov

Trone, Schneider Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Trone (D-MD) and Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) introduced the Teachers Are Leaders Act (H.R. 3108) to expand professional development and leadership growth opportunities for teachers. U.S. Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Chuck Flesichmann (R-TN), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), and Glenn Grothman (R-WI) joined to introduce this bipartisan bill.

Under current law, the federal Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant connects local schools with nearby colleges and universities to create professional development programs for new teachers. However, there are not enough opportunities for established teachers to develop leadership and peer mentoring skills that help retain teachers and boost student achievement. The Teachers Are Leaders Act would expand TQP grants by making “teacher leader” programs focused on professional development for established teachers eligible for funding. These programs would focus on peer coaching, family and community engagement, curriculum development, and other ways to make full use of their experience as educators and leaders in their community.

“Teachers are shaping our future every day in the classroom. We ought to invest in our teachers by providing development opportunities to help them thrive as leaders in our communities,” said Trone. “By supporting our teachers, we are supporting a better education and stronger outcomes for our students. I’m happy to help introduce this bipartisan legislation that stands squarely behind our teachers.”

“Experience is often the best teacher, and that’s true for our educators as well. Empowering established educators to be leaders and mentors for new teachers is an effective and smart way to retain a high-quality teaching workforce,” said Schneider. “Our bipartisan bill would create more opportunities for experienced teachers to grow as leaders in their own community, including expanding opportunities for them to mentor and share their best practices with new teachers. I am grateful to have strong bipartisan support from my colleagues for this legislation to help our teachers – and in turn, our students – succeed.”

“Professional development is essential in all positions, especially for those who are educating our youth,” said Thompson. “We can all think of a teacher who impacted our lives in a positive way, and I am pleased that this legislation devotes necessary resources to give teachers the tools to become even stronger leaders. Teachers dedicate their lives to others; we should always look for ways to give back to them, too.”

“It is vital that we provide teachers with professional development opportunities to improve teacher retention and create an extended network of support,” said Fleischmann. “I am proud to be a co-sponsor on a bipartisan bill that works to strengthen the teaching profession in schools across our nation.”

“The Teachers Are Leaders Act is a smart investment in our nation's teachers, the futures of students, and our communities,” said Underwood. “This bill will help strengthen our public school system and provide more teachers with the resources they need to be able to cultivate high-quality educational programs. I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to improve professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders.”

Companion legislation of the Teachers Are Leaders Act was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

The legislation is endorsed by the National Education Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Third Way, and the International Literacy Association:

“Empowering teachers to lead is far more than just a nicety. As leadership roles expand, the NASSP Building Ranks framework indicates that building models of collaborative leadership becomes essential to the success of any school by retaining and developing the best talent, building leadership continuity, and advancing professional practice among teachers. We thank Representative Schneider and the cosponsors for raising the profile of teacher leadership and for their efforts to expand professional opportunities for all whose priority is to build the potential of each student,” said JoAnn Baroletti, NASSP Executive Director.

“If we want to recruit and retain high quality teachers, we need to treat them like the professionals they are. And one of the best ways to do this is to allow teachers to grow professionally both inside and outside of the classroom. Luckily, the Teachers Are Leaders Act does just this by freeing up funds that will give school districts the ability to work directly with districts and preparation programs to provide clear leadership pathways that will empower teachers and ultimately improve student achievement. Third Way is proud to support these efforts to modernize the profession and help keep talented teachers in the classroom,” said Tamara Hiler, Deputy Director of Education at Third Way.

“Research suggests that school leadership is second only to teaching in terms of positive impact on student learning. It is critically important that we invest in developing effective high-quality school leadership to build a culture of literacy. The Teachers as Leaders Act is an ideal approach for preparing teachers for coaching and other leadership roles, including the design and delivery of enhanced literacy instruction. The International Literacy Association fully supports this measure,” said Marcie Craig Post, Executive Director, International Literacy Association.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.  

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