Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation to provide all public elementary and secondary school teachers in the United States with the opportunity to receive $25,000 in student loan forgiveness. The Teacher Education Assistance Creating Hope (TEACH) for our Future Act, provides $25,000 in loan forgiveness to teachers who received a loan through either the current Federal Direct Loan (FDL) program, or the now defunct Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, as long as a teacher has taught full-time for 5 consecutive years at any public school in the nation.
Rep. Baca also sponsored the TEACH for our Future Act in the previous (111th) Congress. The legislation was co-sponsored by 36 of his colleagues in the House and endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million teachers and education professionals.
"Teaching is one of the most important professions in our society -- yet too often, America's educators find themselves underpaid, and overworked with high class sizes," said Rep. Baca. "We are in the middle of a budget crisis in California, where many of our best young teachers are receiving layoff notices instead of accolades. We must do more to encourage promising young people to enter the profession, and keep America's best and brightest where they can impact the most lives -- in the classroom."
"The current loan forgiveness programs that exist for teachers are a good start, but we can do much more," continued Rep. Baca. "The TEACH for our Future Act will help provide up to $25,000 in student loan relief to any teacher, regardless of the subject matter or part of the country they teach, as long as he or she has completed five years of quality work in one of our nation's public schools."
The TEACH for our Future Act amends sections 428J and 460 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to authorizes the Secretary of Education to repay up to $25,000 of a student loan for any teacher who completes five full-time school years at an elementary or secondary school. Previous government loan forgiveness programs for teachers have only provided relief to teachers who have taught specific subject matters, such as math and science, or in high-needs and difficult to staff rural or inner-city teaching districts. This legislation keeps these specific loan forgiveness programs intact, but also broadens the scope of such programs to include all public school teachers in the United States, and increases the level of debt relief to $25,000.
"Any person who is willing to give of him or herself in order to create a better future for our children is worthy of our admiration, whether they teach math and science or art and physical education," concluded Rep. Baca. "It's time for America to say thank you to our nation's teachers -- and to make it a little bit easier for them to receive the education they need to mold our future generations."