PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Friday, Senator Vincent Hughes held a press conference at Drexel’s School of Education with teacher advocates and education experts to introduce new, bipartisan legislation that would offer up to $15,000 in stipends to student teachers. Senate Bill 300 is sponsored by Senator Hughes and Republican Senator Ryan Aument and aims to address the growing teacher shortage issue facing urban, suburban, and rural schools throughout the Commonwealth.
The legislation would create the Educator Pipeline Program, which would provide:
- A $10,000 stipend for individuals enrolled in a teacher preparation program at an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth to complete their student teaching requirement.
- An additional $5,000 stipend for students who complete their student teaching in schools that traditionally don’t have student teachers and schools with high teacher vacancies – an acknowledgment that some schools are being hit harder than others.
- A $1,000 stipend for cooperating teachers who agree to mentor student teachers.
“This bill will provide financial support for individuals who are choosing to join one of the most important careers in this nation,” said Senator Hughes. “The data is telling us the teacher shortage crisis is happening right now- everything is going in the wrong direction. This is an opportunity to breathe hope and curiosity into our children through our educators and fix the system to bring more quality and diverse teachers into our schools.”
Senator Hughes cited several data points during the press conference, including a drop of 944 teachers certified in Philadelphia compared to 10 years ago. Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties have also seen drops in the total number of teachers certified.
In addition to the stipend, the legislation will implement a data collection component to help Pennsylvania officials better understand the teaching pipeline shortage and improve when and how shortages are addressed.
Senator Hughes was joined by education leaders, teachers, and current and former student teachers who support the bill. He also noted Governor Shapiro’s support of teachers and education funding, “We look at this legislation as a complement to Governor Shapiro’s proposal to provide $2,500 dollars to attract educators to Pennsylvania.”
Speakers at the press conference included Dr. Sarah Ulrich, Drexel Associate Dean of Teacher Education and Undergraduate Affairs; Tomas Hanna, Associate Superintendent for Secondary Schools for the School District of Philadelphia; Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Dr. Donna-Marie Cole-Malott, Co-Director of the PA Educator Diversity Consortium; Dr. Johns-Smith, Principal of Morton McMichael Elementary School; Sydney Smith, a recent graduate of Temple University’s School of Education; and Haneen Mutan, a Drexel University Undergraduate Teacher Education Candidate.
A full video of the press conference is available on Senators Hughes’ website.