U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, sponsored a bipartisan effort to support innovative teacher leadership roles called the Teachers are Leaders Act.
Jones introduced this legislation alongside Sen. Chris Coons, D-Deleware; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Cory Gardner, R-Colorado; Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Pat Roberts, R-Kansas; Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, and Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island.
The bill was inspired by high teacher attrition rates, which have neared 8 percent in recent years.
Teachers, especially in low-performing schools, have been leaving classrooms due to a lack of administrative support, professional learning opportunities and decision-making input.
The Teachers are Leaders Act would create partnerships between colleges and high-need schools to develop and support locally designed teacher leader development programs, which have started to appear in states like Delaware and Iowa, that would create leadership roles for teachers based on additional needs in the community.
This would ensure that teachers play a significant role in fixing problems that their schools face.
“Providing educators with adequate resources, support and advancement opportunities is critical to the success of our education system,” Jones said. “The bipartisan Teachers are Leaders Act is an important step towards treating teachers like the education professionals and community leaders they are.”
Organizations supporting teacher leaders, including Teach Plus and New Leaders, have endorsed the bill.
“We applaud the bill’s attention to improving preparation and its innovative approach to differentiated career paths that will foster new opportunities for professional growth,” said Alice Cain Johnson, executive vice president of Teach Plus.