WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) called on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to fully utilize federal resources to address the massive statewide teacher shortage and help students recover from the pandemic. Rep. Grijalva is urging Governor Ducey to spend federal COVID dollars to strengthen the teacher pipeline, increase teacher pay, create and expand residency programs, particularly in rural areas, update critical school infrastructure to ensure proper ventilation, and aid college students with the cost of school and make education more affordable and accessible for all. Governor Ducey could also ease the financial burden to become a teacher through enhanced financial aid incentives, and the support of teacher residency programs.
“Arizona is on the precipice of an education crisis that will impact future generations to come. Arizona’s public school system consistently ranks at the bottom in the nation because our state does not invest in the welfare of our teachers, school staff and students,” said Rep. Grijalva. “We must immediately address the immense shortage of teachers and conditions in our public school systems and spare no expense to give our kids and working families access to a high quality and affordable education. It’s incumbent upon the state of Arizona to raise teacher pay, provide schools with the money and resources they desperately need, and help our students catch up in the wake of the pandemic.”
Rep. Grijalva’s call for Governor Ducey to do more comes on the heels of Secretary Miguel Cardona’s call to action for school and state leaders to work together to level-up the teacher pipeline and get more qualified adults in the classroom immediately across the country. In order to accelerate student recovery, Secretary Cardona is urging states and schools to use congressionally appropriated funds provided by the American Rescue Plan and other federal COVID-19 relief funds to scale up educator preparation programs (EPPs) at institutions of higher education and look for dynamic and innovative ways to provide hands-on learning for prospective teachers or paraprofessionals in a classroom environment.
To coincide with the Secretary’s call to action, the Department of Education released a fact sheet providing concrete examples of how states, districts, and schools are already taking up the call to use federal COVID dollars to strengthen the teacher pipeline, get more educators in the classroom, and accelerate student recovery. Districts and higher education institutions are partnering to create and expand residency programs, offer paraprofessional internships, get college students in the classroom more quickly, and more. Because of these partnerships, students across the country can spend more time working with qualified educators and addressing the academic impact of COVID-19. To view the Department of Education fact sheet, click HERE.