March 23, 2022

Congressman Neguse Unveils Legislation to Expand Leadership Opportunities for Teachers

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse unveiled legislation to expand teacher preparation programs in schools and increase leadership positions held by classroom teachers. Specifically, the Teachers Are Leaders Act provides payments derived from the Department of Education to allow high-need schools and colleges to partner together and create teacher leadership programs that directly address school needs and foster professional growth. 

“As a father and former CU Regent, I understand the importance of investing fully in our public school system and ensuring that every educator, regardless of zip-code, has access to the opportunities necessary to ensure their students can succeed,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Across the 2nd district and our nation, we depend on our educators to inspire the next generation of young people in our society –  public school teachers should be able to contribute to the administrative decisions happening in their schools. I’m proud to introduce this critical piece of legislation, and I will continue to be a champion for our public school teachers and ensure they have access to the resources they need to thrive.”

“We know that great teachers are the strength of America’s education system,” said Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Rob Anderson. “Research is clear - teachers are by far the most important factor in raising student achievement for all students. We applaud Sen. Neguse for recognizing this and believe his bill will help to tap into the potential of teacher leadership as a critical lever for change and improvement in schools across the country.”

Quality teachers are leaving the classroom every year due to a lack of administrative support, professional learning opportunities, and decision-making input. With a nearly 8 percent annual attrition rate, this high turnover results in lower student academic achievement and higher teacher replacement costs, which is estimated to be $8 billion annually according to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. Moreover, teacher attrition rates are highest in our lowest-performing schools, where students have the greatest need for high-quality teachers. 

Expanding leadership roles for teachers has been shown to improve teacher recruitment and retention, as well as double the percentage of teachers who would choose to work in a low-performing school, according to The New Teach Project (TNTP). In some cases, teacher leaders have taken on projects that have resulted in innovative solutions that have been scaled beyond their school. The Teachers Are Leaders Act would expand on this work by leveraging the expertise of teacher preparation programs to design and implement new teacher leader roles.

Congressman Neguse recently unveiled the Opportunity for All education agenda, including several legislative proposals to expand opportunity. Learn more about the agenda here. 

Background:

Since coming to Congress, Congressman Neguse has taken efforts to recognize Colorado teachers, faculty and school boards who are working to serve our children. Congressman Neguse has twice enacted legislation to provide federal funding to rural schools in Colorado’s mountain communities. Additionally, he’s been leading an effort in Congress to lower child care costs for working families and enact universal preschool for 3 and 4-year-olds through the Build Back Better Act. Alongside Congressman Jared Huffman, he’s worked to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to ensure adequate special education funding, and he is sponsoring legislation to reduce the cost of college textbooks and make the transfer process more accessible for community college students.