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Rep. Honda and Sen. Reed Introduce Education Improvement Bills

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

In an effort to ensure teachers, principals, and other educators are better prepared to meet challenges in today's classrooms, U.S. Representative Michael Honda (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today reintroduced two key pieces of legislation: the Educator Preparation Reform Act and the Effective Teaching and Leading Act. Through meaningful clinical practice, professional development, and support, these two bills will better prepare educators for classroom demands and improve learning outcomes for students.

The Educator Preparation Reform Act would overhaul federal laws governing teacher preparation, including reporting requirements, accountability provisions, and the TEACH Grant scholarship program.

The Effective Teaching and Leading Act would authorize targeted assistance to schools nationwide to develop and support effective teachers, principals, school librarians, and school leaders through implementation of proven, team-based professional development strategies, induction programs, and fair and rigorous evaluation systems.

Research shows that teacher quality and school leadership are the most important in-school factors in raising student achievement. The Reed-Honda bills would put in place new reporting standards to provide public transparency on key performance measurements for all teacher preparation programs -- traditional and alternative. They would also create more rigorous reporting on admissions standards, clinical preparation, placement, retention, and teacher performance, including student learning outcomes.

"Communities, especially the underserved, must seek sustainable solutions to their unique challenges and problems. These bills empowers high-needs school districts to cultivate high-quality teachers and principals," said Rep. Honda, an educator with over three decades in the field of education as a classroom teacher, principal, and school board member. "Part of the solution for creating robust schools is to find educators who will remain committed to their school community, who reflect the communities in which they teach, and who will make a long-term commitment to the profession of teaching. This legislation is a good example of investing our federal dollars wisely."

"America's economic future depends on the success of our public schools and the success of our schools depends upon effective teachers and principals," said Sen. Reed. "I am proud to work with Congressman Honda to improve the chances for student success by building a truly collaborative system for educator preparation -- one that creates a positive school environment, allowing educators to work together and connect higher education to early childhood and K-12 education. Passing the Educator Preparation Reform Act will help hardworking teachers, principals, and support staff work to spark innovation and prepare our students to meet the challenges of tomorrow."

The Educator Preparation Reform Act:

* Creates more rigorous reporting on admissions standards, clinical preparation, placement, retention, and teacher performance, including student learning outcomes.

* Strengthens accountability for teacher-preparation, at all levels, by requiring public report cards that measure the program's performance quality, while also offering the option for states and institutions to implement a valid, reliable teacher performance assessment that determines individual candidate readiness.

* Improves the Teacher Quality Partnership program by expanding residency programs to include principals and providing partnership flexibility in meeting the instructional needs of local school districts.

* Reforms TEACH Grants to focus grant aid on future educators who are completing their preparation programs.

What educators are saying about the Educator Preparation Reform Act:

"The Educator Preparation Reform Act represents a practical approach to real, systemic reform in the nation's education system. It invests in teacher and principal residency programs, puts forth a sensible, fair and state-based accountability system, and improves the TEACH grant program, which places some of the best and brightest teachers in high need fields in high need schools. I commend Senator Reed and Congressman Honda for their enduring commitment to ensuring that all students are served by fully prepared and effective educators." -- Sharon Robinson, President and CEO of American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

"The Educator Preparation Reform Act makes clear that excellence, innovation, and accountability can be advanced in educator preparation by focusing on what the best of knowledge tells us, based on clinical research on which are -- and are not -- validated and effective approaches to preparing our nation's educators. It also makes clear that residency programs can have a positive impact on student learning by making sure teachers coming into the classroom are equipped to teach." -- Dr. Beverly L. Young, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, California State University

The Effective Teaching and Leading Act

* Engages teams of teachers, librarians, and other instructional staff during the school week for high-quality mentoring and strategizing to improve student learning.

* Targets resources to school districts to develop, implement, and review systems to support and evaluate teachers, school librarians, principals, and instructional staff through multi-year induction programs and with rigorous, transparent, and equitable teacher and principal evaluation systems.

* Requires professional development that closely aligns with school needs.

* Supports opportunities for educators to serve as mentors, instructional coaches, or master teachers, or take on increased responsibility for professional development, curriculum, or school improvement activities and calls for significant and sustainable stipends for teachers that take on these new roles and responsibilities.

* Stipulates a formal evaluation of the funded programs to ensure that they meet the needs of the students, teachers, and administrators being served.

What educators are saying about the Effective Teaching and Leading Act:

"The Alliance for Excellent Education is pleased to offer its strong support for the Effective Teaching and Leading Act. The Alliance is committed to ensuring that the best-prepared educators serve in the nation's highest-need schools, and this legislation embodies that goal." -- Bob Wise, President of Alliance for Excellent Education

"As an educational leadership organization dedicated to the success of each learner, ASCD wholeheartedly endorses the Effective Teaching and Leading Act. We applaud Senator Reed and Congressman Honda for supporting educators and their professional development needs. Senator Reed and Congressman Honda are both indefatigable champions for effective teaching, school quality, and student achievement." -- David Griffith, Public Policy Director of ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)

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