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Biden-Harris Administration Premiers Public Service Announcement Elevating the Teaching Profession

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The U.S. Department of Education today launched its campaign to elevate the teaching profession and promote educator diversity. The campaign titled “Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives” is headlined by a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) developed in partnership with TEACH.org and One Million Teachers of Color. The goal of the PSA is to inspire more talented people—especially those from underrepresented communities—to become teachers, while also elevating the teaching profession and celebrating our teachers. The PSA premiered on LinkedIn’s LinkedIn Live and will appear in media markets across the country via television, radio, and social media. To watch the PSA, click here.

Today’s announcement builds on the Department’s commitment to accelerating academic recovery by working with state and local leaders to elevate the teaching profession and address educator shortages. As a result of these efforts, as of October 2023, local public education employment has nearly rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, now roughly at the same levels as October 2019, the last pre-pandemic beginning of a school year. At the height of the pandemic, there were 730,000, or 9 percent, fewer local public education employees than before the pandemic. As of October 2023, there are only 0.17 percent fewer employees in local public education than four years prior. We know that when shortages of qualified educators exist, they disproportionately impact students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners.

“I’ll never forget the positive influence that my first teacher of color, Mr. Gary O’Neil, had on me. My personal experience is backed up by years of research illustrating that all students benefit from having diverse and talented educators in the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This campaign reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to elevating the teaching profession and encouraging more talented people, and especially those from underrepresented communities, to pursue fulfilling and impactful careers as educators. At the Department, our efforts to help states and districts grow a talented and diverse teacher pipeline are at the core of our efforts to Raise the Bar in education and build on President Biden’s historic investments in America’s public schools. I’m proud that, thanks in large part to these efforts, we have already reduced the educator shortage to a fraction of what it was during the pandemic.”

“Over the past two decades, the K-12 student population has become much more racially diverse, but that same trend in diversity is not reflected in teachers and school leaders,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president and CEO of the Hunt Institute. “The ‘One Million Teachers of Color’ campaign is pleased to partner with TEACH.org and the U.S. Department of Education to highlight the needs of our educator workforce in order to address the underrepresentation in our schools. This collective movement will support our goal of increasing the number of teachers of color by one million by 2030.”

“We know that the existing teacher diversity gap has an adverse impact on students and that all students would benefit from having more teachers of color. TEACH.org envisions a day when every classroom has a quality teacher, and every student has access to educators who reflect the diversity of their community. This campaign highlights the expertise and innovation teachers bring to their work and will inspire diverse change makers who want to make an impact in an intellectually stimulating, fulfilling, and fun profession,” said Zachary Levine, executive director of TEACH.org.

This progress to date on eliminating educator shortages is a result of the systematic efforts by the U.S. Department of Education, with partners across the Biden-Harris Administration, to advance key strategies to restore staffing in our schools and ensure all students have access to well-prepared and fully qualified teachers and school leaders. School districts are estimated to spend nearly $30 billion of their American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds on staffing, including on these critical strategies. In addition, in fiscal year (FY) 2023, the Department has invested $2.76 billion in the nation’s educators through its grant programs, $93 million more than invested in FY 2021.

The Department has worked to increase teacher compensation and improve working and learning conditions, which are critical to educator recruitment and retention, and increasing the diversity of the profession.

  • President Biden and Secretary Cardona have repeatedly called for leaders at all levels to increase educator pay and provide teachers with a livable and competitive wage. Since 2021-2022, at least 29 states and the District of Columbia have taken concrete steps at the state or system level to increase compensation. This Department map provides transparency into teacher pay, and state action to address it.

The Department is increasing access to high-quality and affordable pathways into the teaching profession, like grow your own programs and teacher residency programs.

  • The Department has partnered with the Department of Labor to expand Registered Apprenticeship Programs for teachers, a high-quality earn-while-you-learn model that can be used to scale grow your own and residency programs and break down financial barriers to accessing high-quality pathways and entering the profession. There were no registered apprenticeship programs for teachers at the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, yet as of November, 28 states and Puerto Rico now have registered programs.
  • In FY 2023, the Department awarded $14.5 million in new Teacher Quality Partnership awards and more than $35 million in funding for 138 new Personnel Development Program projects to support high-quality pathways into the profession and address key shortage areas such as special education.

The Department is increasing educator diversity to address shortages and improve student outcomes.

The Department is investing in supports for school leaders, who play a critical role in shaping school climate and educator working conditions. The Department also is investing in current teachers who help them succeed and stay in the profession, including through high-quality new teacher induction programs, job-embedded professional learning throughout educators’ careers, and career advancement and leadership opportunities.

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