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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 27, 2023 04:23 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes and Sen. Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Student Teacher Stipend Program
In the near future we plan on introducing legislation to create a student teacher stipend program, to be known as the Educator Pipeline Program.

We are all aware that we are facing a crisis in the teaching profession.  The lack of an adequate number of teachers impacts both rural and urban districts.  Teach Plus and the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) hosted a summit last fall on the Commonwealth’s teacher shortage crisis.  The resulting #PANeedsTeachers assessment found that the number of teachers being certified annually plummeted from 20,000 per year to fewer than 7,000 from 2010 to 2020.  A July 2020 report from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania found that there has been a substantial decline across all subject areas from 2013 to 2018 and that the teacher shortages “are projected to, at best, persist over time.”

Last session, the General Assembly took steps to increase participation in the education workforce.  With the passage of the School Code, a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) track for education fields was enacted and the Department of Education (PDE) was authorized to collect data on participation in the educator pipeline.  But more work is necessary.

Currently, student teachers are unpaid for their required student teaching that lasts 12 weeks, creating a severe financial strain for many of our aspiring educators.  Traditionally, an individual participating in student teaching either must quit their job or work an additional job after spending the entire day teaching.  Too often this choice leaves many school districts that are not located close to an institution of higher education without student teachers.  Studies have shown that many school districts fill teaching vacancies from the pool of student teachers who taught in that school district.

To address this financial strain and help connect student teachers to schools struggling the most to attract educators, our proposal would create a new Educator Pipeline Program within the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to provide stipends for individuals enrolled in a teacher preparation program at an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth to complete their student teaching requirement.  The general framework of this program will follow the School-based Mental Health Internship Program created as part of the 2022-2023 budget.
Should Pennsylvania create the Educator Pipeline Program, we would join several other states controlled by Republicans and Democrats alike that provide student teacher stipends for aspiring educators. Colorado, Michigan, and Oklahoma have enacted state administered programs while several school districts in Nebraska have enacted locally administered programs. 

Please join us in sponsoring this legislation to support our future educators and assist our schools in attracting new teachers.

Introduced as SB300