Pa. lawmakers propose stipend program for student-teachers

Two lawmakers want to incentivize students to enter the profession to alleviate some financial burden for aspiring teachers and attract new talent in Pennsylvania.

Sens. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, and Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, announced plans for legislation establishing the Educator Pipeline Program to provide a stipend to student-teachers enrolled in a preparation program at a Pennsylvania college or university.

The stipend, for which lawmakers did not specify an amount, would help student-teachers during their unpaid — but required — work in the classroom and help connect school districts with potential talent, Hughes and Aument wrote in a memo seeking legislative support.

“Traditionally, an individual participating in student-teaching either must quit their job or work an additional job after spending the entire day teaching,” they said. “Too often this choice leaves many school districts that are not located close to an institution of higher education without student-teachers.”

The proposed Educator Pipeline Program would operate within the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, similar to the framework used for the School-based Mental Health Internship Program, which passed with the 2022-23 budget.

Aument and Hughes said their suggested stipend would build on existing efforts to increase education workforce participation, citing the new Career and Technical Education track for education fields and authorization for the Department of Education to collect data on the educator pipeline.

“But more work is necessary,” they said.

Colorado, Michigan, and Oklahoma have enacted similar state-administered programs, and some school districts in Nebraska have launched local-level programs to recruit new teachers.

Since 2010, Pennsylvania has seen a 66% decline in Instructional I teaching certificates, the state’s most basic teaching accreditation awarded to graduates who pass their certification tests, issued to in-state graduates. Data from the Department of Education also reflect a 58% decline in certificates issued to those planning to work out-of-state.

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, as part of his first proposed budget, has suggested a new tax credit, rewarding up to $2,500 a year for three years to new teachers — hoping it alleviates the increased burden on existing educators and attracts more people to commonwealth classrooms.

As budget hearings and negotiations play out over the next few months, education is a key focus, especially after a Commonwealth Court judge declared Pennsylvania’s current education funding system unconstitutional.

Originally published at,by Marley Parish

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