Congressman Crow Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Prospective Teachers and Principals in Residency Programs to Use Federal Work-Study Funds to Support their Work

May 14, 2021
Press Release
The Teacher, Principal, and Leader Residency Access Act is modeled after Colorado’s PEBC Teacher Residency program, one of the oldest and most respected residency programs in the nation

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06) introduced the Teacher, Principal, and Leader Residency Access Act, alongside Reps. Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Peter Meijer (MI-03). The bipartisan-led bill would allow Federal Work-Study funds to pay for costs associated with participating in teacher and principal residency programs, which have proven effective to improve teacher demand, quality, and retention. The bill would add teacher and principal residencies to the Federal Work-Study program ensuring no added cost to the taxpayer.

“As we recover from COVID-19, providing our teachers with the resources and training they need should be one of our top priorities. When teachers are supported, they succeed - and their success is our children’s success,” said Congressman Jason Crow. “Residency programs are an excellent way for teachers to gain valuable on-the-job experience before setting off on classrooms of their own. As the father of two elementary schoolers, I know this is the right thing to do for our teachers and students.” 

“Teacher residencies are a proven way to expand the educator preparation pipeline, and keep new teachers in the classroom with our most vulnerable students – two urgent priorities as America suffers from concurrent teacher shortage and COVID-19 related job loss crises. We need to do more on a federal level to match investment in these programs and enable preservice educators to gain valuable experience. This bill would do that – by expanding Federal Work Study funds to cover the cost of these critical teacher residency programs,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.

“Many school districts in Illinois and across the country are facing a shortage of administrators and teachers, including teachers of subject matters that are critical to preparing students for the jobs in our modern economy,” said Davis. “Our bipartisan legislation expands the Federal Work-Study Program to pay for a portion of teacher and principal residency programs, which are proven to provide more experience to educators and increase job retention. Particularly during this pandemic, we need to do everything we can to give teachers, administrators, and school districts the resources they need to help their students succeed.”

“During this challenging time when schools are strained and facing serious teacher shortages, we must utilize every resource available to ensure all individuals who aspire to become teachers have access to the training and hands-on classroom experience they need to succeed,” said Rep. Meijer. “The Teacher, Principal, and Leader Residency Access Act would give teachers in training more flexibility in using federal work-study funds, enabling them to take advantage of a wider variety of residency and preparation opportunities. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation that will benefit educational institutions and students across Michigan.”

“As Colorado's largest teacher residency program, we know that high-quality preparation for educators, including clinical residency experiences, makes a profound impact on both the learning experience for teacher candidates as well as their retention within the profession,” said PEBC President and CEO Sue Sava. “One silver lining of this past year, besides surviving a catastrophic pandemic, is that families and taxpayers have a renewed respect for education professionals as their importance in the foundational fabric of our society is now crystal clear. As the country continues to experience a nationwide educator shortage, it is paramount that we invest in strategies that best prepare future generations to be career-ready in their chosen fields, and increase access to high-quality learning experiences in order to widen the funnel to students for whom residency programs are often financially unviable. The Teacher and Leader Residency Access Act will provide students who choose careers in education to support themselves while pursuing their dreams to enter the educator workforce and will benefit emerging teachers, leaders, and students.”

Teachers who have not participated in a residency program are upwards of three times more likely to leave teaching than educators who have participated in a residency program, and hiring new teachers costs Americans over $8 million per year across rural and urban educational agencies. Studies across the nation reinforce the effectiveness of these residency programs, with many indicating graduate retention rates ranging from 80 to 90 percent in the same district after three years.

This bill is modeled after Colorado’s PEBC Teacher Residency program, one of the oldest and most respected residency programs in the nation. 

The Denver-based program has proven successful with a five-year retention rate of 95 percent and over 1,000 prepared educators across Colorado to date, according to the Boettcher Foundation.

You can find bill text here.