PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Josh Shapiro yesterday unveiled his vision for rebuilding Pennsylvania’s teacher workforce during a visit to the George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science in Philadelphia, highlighting his Administration’s plan to encourage new teachers to join the profession and ease the burden on existing teachers.
Last week, the Governor unveiled his budget — a set of commonsense solutions to the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania communities — and among the most challenging is a major shortage in educators across the Commonwealth. In Philadelphia alone, there were more than 200 unfilled teaching jobs at the start of the 2022-23 school year.
“Creating real opportunity for our children starts in our classrooms, but that can only happen when we have enough well-qualified, well-paid teachers in our classrooms. Right now, the Commonwealth simply doesn’t have enough teachers, and my Administration is taking steps to fix that,” said Governor Shapiro. “My budget will help put more qualified teachers into our classrooms by creating a new tax credit to make it a little bit easier to become a teacher. This is common sense, and we must help any Pennsylvanian who wants to serve their community by becoming a teacher.”
The Governor’s budget proposes a refundable tax credit of up to $2,500 every year for up to three years for anyone who earns a new license or certification in education, nursing, or law enforcement, or for anyone who already has a license in those fields and decides to move to Pennsylvania for work. In total, the budget includes an investment of $24.7 million in job retention and recruitment efforts to specifically attract more of these critically needed workers.
During Wednesday’s visit, the Governor met with Carver teachers to hear firsthand how educator shortages impact their classrooms.
“The research says that the single most important factor in student learning is a highly-qualified, well-supported, and stable teaching force over time,” said School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington. “We’re pleased that our Governor took time to come here this morning to spend time talking with principals, spend time talking with teachers, and spend time talking with students to hear directly from them about how we can continue to improve schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the School District of Philadelphia. We are particularly grateful for his support in the budget for the School District of Philadelphia, not limited to the $2500 proposed tax credit for teachers, since they are number one in the research in terms of improving student outcomes.”
To ensure every Pennsylvania student has access to a quality education, Governor Shapiro’s budget includes an increase of $567.4 million, or 7.8 percent, for basic education funding, in addition to targeted support to help students learn and grow. The Governor’s inaugural budget provides:
- $38.5 million for universal free breakfast for all Pennsylvania students, regardless of income, so that all students have access to a healthy, nutritious meal to start the school day.
- $500 million over the next 5 years to reduce and remediate environmental hazards in schools to ensure more children will have the opportunity to grow and learn in healthy settings.
- $500 million over the next five years so that schools can fund mental health counselors and services on site, because our students’ mental health is just as important as their physical health.
Learn more about Governor Shapiro’s budget and plans for rebuilding our education workforce here.
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