CEC is applauding Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA-27) and Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX-15) for introducing the Equal Access to Quality Education Act (H.R. 2902), legislation that ensures schools facing the greatest challenges are also staffed by the highest quality teachers.
Of particular interest to CEC and special educators, the Equal Access to Quality Education Act invests in expanding and strengthening programs that prepare special education teachers and bilingual teachers to meet the needs of diverse classrooms.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found that schools serving mostly African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with one or two years of experience than schools within the same district that serve mostly Caucasian students. Additionally, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recently released a report that notes that bachelor’s degrees in education were awarded predominantly to white candidates (82 percent) with females making up more than 75 percent of graduates of teacher preparation programs.
This legislation would establish a grant program to help develop strong, high quality pathways into the teaching profession. In this way, Representatives Chu and Hinojosa hope to address the influx of young, inexperienced teachers into the schools with the highest needs. Additionally, the legislation seeks to increase the diversity of teachers by addressing barriers that may prevent entry to teacher preparation programs, such as poverty.
CEC supports this legislation and its approach to increasing diversity and access to high quality teachers and education for all students. For updates, stay tuned to the Policy Insider!