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06/15/2024 07:12 AM
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: June 2, 2023 10:27 AM
From: Representative Danielle Friel Otten and Rep. Gina H. Curry, Rep. Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Student Teacher Stipend Program
For aspiring teachers, student teaching is the culmination of years of hard work in the college classroom. It provides the opportunity to gain critical experience in their field while providing a much-needed service to their community. But for many college students, student teaching presents significant challenges, because these semester-long placements are unpaid and often leave students struggling to afford tuition costs and basic living and commuting expenses.

The full-time nature of student teaching limits students’ ability to earn income during their teaching semester due to the time requirements of this obligatory, unpaid internship. Student teachers often need to give up paying jobs that have helped them cover living expenses during other college semesters, forcing many to take on additional debt. By providing student teachers with the resources and compensation they deserve, we can eliminate some of the undue financial burdens that prevent many from pursuing a career in this high-demand field.

Our legislation would provide student teaching stipends to help remove financial barriers for aspiring teachers wishing to enter this profession and ensure that aspiring teachers’ focus and energy are on the student teaching classroom and their own course requirements – not the stack of unpaid bills or the student debt they are accruing. Our proposal would create a Student Teacher Stipend Program within the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to provide stipends for students enrolled in an initial teacher certification program. This program would follow the framework of the School-based Mental Health Internship Program enacted in the 2022-2023 budget.

Student teaching stipends are an essential step in both addressing our teacher shortage and supporting every aspiring educator in Pennsylvania so they can join the workforce fully prepared to teach upon graduation.

By creating a Student Teacher Stipend Program, Pennsylvania would join states like Colorado, Michigan, and Oklahoma, which addressed the growing teacher shortage crisis by passing similar legislation in a bi-partisan manner. We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1331