Here’s an important story about recently introduced legislation to amend the Troops to Teachers program and make many more school districts eligible to host these teachers.
The program gives stipends for veterans with a certain number of years of active military service to get their teaching credentials if they agree to work for three years in a school serving a high percentage of poor students.
For veterans who left the military on or after Jan. 8, 2002, The bill would decrease from six to four years the number of years of active service a veteran needs to qualify. It would also allow individuals serving on or after Sept. 11, 2001 to qualify if they completed 90 days of active service. Finally, the bill would also expand the program from “high-need” school districts to all school districts that receive Title I funds for disadvantaged students.
It seems like an admirable idea to expand the talent pipeline through such changes, but there are potential tradeoffs to consider. For instance, most school districts receive Title I funds of some kind, even though poverty levels are quite variable within Title I districts, which means that this program would not be nearly as targeted with these changes in place. Is it possible such a change would mean that the most challenged schools would no longer get dibs on these teachers?
It’s something for Congress to think about during the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which will likely incorporate some version of this bill.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.