By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this year, Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, laid out his vision to improve education across the country. His four main points focused on supporting students, addressing opportunity and achievement gaps, making higher education more accessible and ensuring that higher education leads to a successful career.
While his speech detailed how to make these goals a reality, at the core of the speech was the determination to ensure quality education for everyone. Teachers play a huge part in achieving an equitable education field.
On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will be accepting applications for the Teacher Quality Partnership program. Through the program, $35 million will be awarded to improve teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate or “fifth-year” level or pre-baccalaureate model.
Residency programs or models, in which individuals who are new to teaching and combine academic content and clinical experience, will also be eligible for the award.
“Across the country, we must continue the necessary work of developing a strong, diverse educator workforce for today and tomorrow,” Cardona said in the press release.
Awards will be given based on some of the priorities Cardona listed in his address from January. According to the press release, these include educator diversity, student social, emotional and academic needs, student equitable access to opportunities and resources.
The high-quality resident models do more than ensure that students have quality teachers who can provide a quality education, it also leads to more diversity and higher retention rates, according to the press release.
“Effective programs have positive effects on teacher candidates—including boosting the likelihood that they will remain in the profession—and they increase the impact that great teachers have on student learning,” Cardona said in the press release.
In addition to the Teacher Quality Partnership program, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging individuals to apply to the Grow Your Own programs, which help address retention rates, support teacher growth, and more.
As Cardona pointed out in his address, the time to address education in this country is now.
“We stand, together, at a moment when our actions as educators will determine our country’s standing in the world, when our students look to us for more than academics, and when we can collectively lead our nation’s healing,” he said in his speech. “Let’s move America forward with a greater sense of urgency, purpose, and passion.”
Cardona continued, “This is our moment to truly reimagine education. This is our moment to lift our students, our education system, and our country to a level never before seen.”