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Teacher-College Group Unveils Legislation for Fellowship Programs

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education today unveiled model state legislation designed to help high-achieving high school students prepare to become teachers in disadvantaged public schools. 

The legislation is based on the vaunted North Carolina Teaching Fellows program and its South Carolina counterpart. Both programs have been praised for bringing in and retaining more teachers of color by tapping the pipeline of high school graduates. (The North Carolina program was recently, and controversially, defunded.) 

Under the legislation, states would provide scholarships of $6,500 a year for four years to high-achieving high school students who agree to teach in high-need public schools for at least four years. They would use the money to attend preparation programs at a university in the state. 

Similar to the federal TEACH grants, recipients who did not fufill the four-year requirement would be required to payback their grants, plus interest.

An advisory board would set minimum admissions standards for the fellowships based on factors such as GPAs and academic-admissions tests.

Any institution with programs deemed "low performing" under federal reporting requirements for teacher colleges would not be permitted to host a Teaching Fellows program (though, in truth, there are very few programs so identified.) 

Both national teachers' unions have endorsed the legislation. Meanwhile, it's not clear yet whether any lawmaker has introduced the legislation; I'll be sure to update this item as soon as I hear of any.

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