Washington, DC –U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Jack Reed (D-RI) announced the introduction of the Better Educator Support & Training (BEST) Act, which would work to improve resources for teachers by equipping educators with resources through additional, targeted funding. The BEST Act seeks to support teachers, principals, and other educators, as well as improve academic achievement through requiring the implementation of evidence-based strategies.
“I’m proud to introduce the Better Educator Support & Training Act, which aims to provide comprehensive resources that educators need to help students achieve their academic best,” Senator Casey said. “Making smart investments in our educators will give them the tools they need to ensure that our children get the best education possible.”
“Student success in the classroom begins with educators who are well-trained and have the necessary resources to do their jobs. The BEST Act would provide comprehensive support for the entire instructional team, from librarians and counselors to principals and teachers, and would make significant investments in educator mentoring, professional development, and pathways for career growth. We cannot expect teachers to prepare the workforce of tomorrow with yesterday’s resources and training. If we want our children have a quality education, with top-notch instruction and support, we’ve got to invest in our teachers as well as our classrooms,” said Senator Reed, whose longstanding work on this issue includes the Effective Teaching and Leading Act and the Educator Preparation Reform Act.
“It’s well past time to think that teachers can be thrown the keys to their classrooms and told, ‘Just do it.’ Our students deserved well-prepared educators, and our educators deserve the support they need to do their jobs,” said Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers. “That’s why this bill from Senator Casey and Senator Reed is so important. It helps provide funding for the high-quality mentoring and professional development teachers need to do their jobs well throughout their careers.”
“Excellent educators – teachers, principals, and support staff like special education teachers and school psychologists – are necessary for students to succeed in school, and proper support is necessary to have excellent educators for every child,” said Kevin Lindsey and Joe Bishop, co-chairs of the Coalition for Teaching Quality. “Senators Casey and Reed get educator support right in this bill, which will have a positive impact on students who have been underserved by inexperienced, undertrained, and uncertified teachers for too long.”
The Better Educator Support & Training (BEST) Act aims to:
- Ensure that teachers, principals, counselors, librarians, and other specialized instructional support personnel collaborate and are prepared and supported to help students achieve and grow
- Allocate funds to support and mentor educators when they first become employed, including ongoing mentoring with paid release time, a rigorous mentor selection process, and regular feedback to produce greater student learning gains
- Implement intensive and personalized job-embedded professional development to help students grow
- Reward educators who serve as mentors, instructional coaches, or master teachers, allowing more teacher ownership in the school without leaving the classroom
- Strengthen certification systems by assessing prospective educators for pedagogical and classroom skills before they enter the classroom to ensure educators are prepared on day one
- Ask states and districts to make progress on the equitable distribution of effective, experienced, and profession-ready educators within and between districts
This legislation is currently supported by: Alliance for Excellent Education, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Center for Teaching Quality, Coalition for Community Schools, First Focus, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, Education Law Center, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, the National PTA, and many other national, state, and local organizations.