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Bipartisan legislation would mobilize future teachers as tutors for students in high-need schools

 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier today a bipartisan coalition of senators led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). introduced new federal legislation to mobilize future teachers as tutors in high-need schools.

The “Partnering Aspiring Teachers with High-Need Schools (PATHS) to Tutor Act” would expand access to high-quality tutoring through a $500 million competitive grant program disbursed to local partnerships of educator-preparation programs, K-12 schools, and community organizations.

The program would provide extra academic and social-emotional support to students while strengthening the country’s pipeline of future teachers. Research shows that teachers who have authentic clinical opportunities perform better when they arrive in their first classroom.

“Our education system is in crisis, and we need to act. The bipartisan PATHS to Tutor Act will provide immediate support to the students who are most in need, while also ensuring future teachers will be well prepared for the years ahead,” said Benjamin Riley, founder and executive director of Deans for Impact.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a national network of educator-preparation programs led by Deans for Impact have advocated for the important role of future teachers in addressing educational inequities and supporting students, especially the most vulnerable.

The PATHS to Tutor Act would provide targeted support to children in high-need or hard-to-staff schools, directing resources to the students who need them the most. Data suggest that the pandemic is exacerbating educational inequities, disproportionately affecting Black and Latinx students, and students in low-income communities.

“COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the deep structural inequities within our education system,” said Senator Booker. “It is unacceptable that many students of color and students from low-income families are being disproportionately denied the opportunity to access high-quality education during this crisis. The PATHS to Tutor Act will provide crucial resources to underfunded schools by expanding access to one-on-one and small group tutoring for the students who need it the most while also preparing the next generation of educators to succeed.”

By empowering local partnerships to collaborate, the PATHS to Tutor Act would provide targeted support that bolsters the country’s economic and educational recovery.

“Educator-preparation programs sit at the nexus of K-12 and higher-education. Individuals enrolled in our programs are the future teacher workforce that will be responsible for educating all of our children. The PATHS to Tutor Act recognizes the vital role our educator-preparation programs play in getting our students back on track,” said Ellen McIntyre, Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

The bill would also create a critical safeguard for individuals who are earning TEACH grants, creating flexibility for them to count high-quality tutoring hours as allowable service. This would reduce the economic burden on early career teachers and ensure qualified teachers remain committed to America’s highest need schools.

“Relationships are critical for student learning, especially given the enormous challenges of the past year,” said Anthony Graham, Provost at Winston-Salem State University. “By partnering future teachers with students in our highest-need schools, the PATHS to Tutor Act would ensure that students receive additional academic and social-emotional support and would empower the next generation of teachers to be change agents in young people’s lives.”

Leaders in educator-preparation have witnessed the need for such support firsthand in recent months. Frank Hernandez, Dean of the College of Education at Texas Christian University, explained:

“Families are worried about lost and unfinished learning. I’m worried too. Since the start of the pandemic, I have fielded calls from local families and community members about educational services the college of education might offer. The PATHS to Tutor Act builds our capacity to answer these calls by leveraging our teacher-candidates to provide tutoring to our community’s most vulnerable students.”

To learn more about the PATHS to Tutor Act, please read through these Frequently Asked Questions, review this background fact sheet, hear from supporters, or reach out to press@deansforimpact.org.
 
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About Deans for Impact
Founded in 2015, Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child is taught by a well-prepared teacher. We do this by connecting with leaders of educator preparation programs; helping them transform their programs; sustaining these transformations over time; and influencing policy that affects their work. In designing learning experiences, we aim to create inclusive and collaborative spaces that address participants’ real problems of practice, and provide concrete examples while recognizing the importance of local context. Visit deansforimpact.org to learn more.


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