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President Biden announces new measures to address teacher shortages, including pay raises

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden’s administration announced several measures on Wednesday which in place to address a national shortage of school teachers, which include a pledge to increase the salary of teachers.

“Low pay continues to be a significant contributor to a weak teacher pipeline and to a history of high turnover rates,” the White House said in a statement Wednesday. “On average, teachers make about 33% less than other college-educated professionals. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wages of public-school teachers has only increased $29 between 1996 and 2021.”

The White House confirmed that “Secretaries Cardona and Walsh are encouraging governors and district leaders to use American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds and the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds to increase teacher pay.”

The White House is putting in place other measure such as apprenticeships along with student loan forgiveness.

“Too many schools are struggling to fill vacancies for teachers, including with qualified teachers and other critical school professionals,” the White House stated. “The president has been clear from day one that to address these long-standing staffing challenges facing our schools, exacerbated by the [COVID-19] pandemic, teachers, paraprofessionals and other school staff need to be paid competitively and treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”

The Biden Administration will also host a programme called “Handshake” in October 2022 which will provide a free event showcasing different paths into education for undergraduate students.

According to the White House, “In October 2022, Handshake will host a nationwide free virtual event to help current undergraduate students learn about pathways in the field of education, including teachers, guidance counselors, school mental health specialists, and school psychologists. This event will provide information on how educators can make an impact and provide practical advice about building a career in the teaching profession.”

On Wednesday, First Lady Jill Biden will lead an executive roundtable at the White House to discuss the issues that have led to a shortage of teachers.

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