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S. 1565 - Supporting Future Educators Act of 2017

Sponsor: Al Franken (D)
Introduced: 2017-07-13
Bill Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
 
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Full Text


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1565


    To support the preparation and retention of outstanding educators in all fields to ensure a bright future for children in under-resourced, underserved communities in the United States, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 13, 2017

    Mr. Franken introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

    To support the preparation and retention of outstanding educators in all fields to ensure a bright future for children in under-resourced, underserved communities in the United States, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Supporting Future Educators Act of 2017”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) ESEA DEFINITIONS.—The terms “dual or concurrent enrollment program”, “elementary school”, “local educational agency”, and “secondary school” have the meanings given the terms in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

(2) CERTIFIED TEACHER.—The term “certified teacher” means an individual who possesses a document certifying that the individual has met the requirements of a State for employment as a teacher in the public schools of that State.

(3) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.—The term “eligible entity” means a local educational agency (or a consortium of such agencies) partnered with an institution of higher education.

(4) QUALIFIED MENTOR TEACHER.—The term “qualified mentor teacher” means an educator who meets a minimum set of qualification standards as determined by the Secretary.

(5) TEACHING RESIDENCY PROGRAM.—The term “teaching residency program” has the meaning given the term in section 200 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1021), except that such term shall not include the requirement that the prospective teacher acquire a master's degree not later than 18 months after beginning the program.

(6) RURAL AREA.—The term “rural area” has the meaning given the term in section 343(a)(13)(A) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)(13)(A)).

(7) RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICT.—The term “rural school district” means a school district that serves 1 or more schools located in a rural area.

(8) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Education.

SEC. 3. Strengthen-Our-Schools Grant Program.

(a) Strengthen-Our-Schools Grant Program Established.—

(1) GRANTS AUTHORIZED.—From amounts appropriated to carry out this section, the Secretary shall establish a Strengthen-Our-Schools Grant Program, through which the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities.

(2) DURATION.—A grant awarded under this section—

(A) shall be for a period of 5 years; and

(B) may be renewed if the eligible entity demonstrates sufficient positive outcomes and evidence of potential for continued success in achieving the goals of the initial grant.

(b) Application and approval.—

(1) APPLICATION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—An eligible entity desiring a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(B) CONTENTS.—An application submitted under subparagraph (A) shall—

(i) describe the activities for which assistance under this section is sought;

(ii) provide such additional assurances as the Secretary determines to be essential to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section; and

(iii) if seeking support for a teaching residency program, demonstrate that the institution of higher education that is a partner in the eligible entity is approved to prepare candidates for State teaching licensure.

(2) APPROVAL.—The Secretary shall approve any application for a program that includes the components described in paragraph (1).

(c) Use of funds.—A recipient of a grant under this section may use the grant fund to help cover the costs associated with—

(1) teaching residency programs, including—

(A) resident tuition;

(B) resident salaries;

(C) mentor teacher incentives;

(D) facilities or infrastructure for a distance learning classroom within the school for onsite coursework and practical learning; and

(E) any other purpose that the Secretary determines appropriate.

(2) fulfilling additional credit requirements needed for a teacher to become licensed in a second subject area or earn an additional qualification that meets a specific need of the school in which the teacher is employed;

(3) fulfilling additional credit requirements needed to qualify teachers to teach dual or concurrent enrollment programs; and

(4) housing supplements or special housing programs to support prospective teachers who complete student teaching placements in high-need districts.

(d) Priority.—In awarding grants that propose to cover costs associated with teacher residency programs, the Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities that propose to carry out a program designed to prepare the following school employees for teaching licensure:

(1) Paraprofessionals.

(2) Other employees of the school community employed on the date of the determination.

(e) Award basis.—In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that, to the extent practicable based on the applications received under subsection (b), not less than 10 percent of the grant funds available to carry out this section are designated for uses that address teacher shortage challenges in rural school districts.

SEC. 4. National Database of Qualified Mentor Teachers.

(a) In general.—The Secretary shall create a national database of qualified mentor teachers who can provide student teacher supervision to participants in teacher preparation programs during their student teaching placement.

(b) Database.—Each qualified mentor teacher database entry shall include—

(1) basic information on the educational background and professional experience of the mentor, including details of the subject areas and grade levels the mentor is licensed to teach;

(2) a description of the subject areas and grade levels the mentor feels most comfortable mentoring; and

(3) a brief teaching philosophy statement.

(c) Availability.—The database shall be available as a resource for teacher preparation programs to allow for prospective teachers to complete student teaching in a location outside of the staffing area of the teacher preparation program.

SEC. 5. Sense of the Senate.

It is the sense of the Senate that teaching be formally recognized as a career pathway that is part of “career and technical education” as defined in section 3 of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2302), allowing early career pathway programs in education, offered at the secondary school level and offering college credit toward pursuing a teaching licensure program, to be eligible for funds available through programs that support career and technical education.


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