CEC Endorses DIVERSIFY Act, Bill to Promote a Well-Prepared and Diverse Educator Workforce
On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Jesus Garcia (D-IL), and Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) introduced the Diversifying by Investing in Educators and Students to Improve Outcomes for Youth (DIVERSIFY) Act. The legislation, endorsed by CEC, aims to create a more prepared and diverse educator workforce through expanding the TEACH Grant, a service scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate students who commit to teaching in a high-poverty elementary or secondary school for 4 years.
The bill expands the TEACH Grant program by increasing the maximum grant amount and making the program less administratively burdensome. The DIVERSIFY Act allows the TEACH Grant to cover the full cost of attendance, rather than the previous restriction to tuition, fees, and on-campus housing. It also classifies serving in high-need early education programs as an eligible service location, requires the Secretary of Education to send grant recipients an electronic certificate upon the completion of their service, and eliminates the loan conversion penalty in an effort to incentivize effective teaching in underserved areas and reduce teacher turnover rates.
“Attracting a high quality, well-prepared educator workforce fully reflective of racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity is critical to supporting infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents,” said Council for Exceptional Children President Dennis Cavitt, Ed.D. “I applaud the introduction of the DIVERSIFY Act, which will get us one step closer to this urgent goal.”