Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Text Size: A A A

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

Congresswoman Lawrence Introduces Teach Our Teachers Act

August 5, 2015
Press Release
Rep. Lawrence, Rep. Watson Coleman co-sponsor H.R. 3366 to provide educators with teacher and public service loan forgiveness.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Lawrence (MI-14) and Rep. Watson Coleman (NJ-12) have introduced H.R. 3366, The Teach Our Teachers Act, to allow teachers to qualify for both teacher loan forgiveness and public service loan forgiveness.

As it currently stands, the Higher Education Act does not allow hard-working and frequently under-paid teachers to qualify for the existing loan forgiveness programs, nor does it allow for educators who teach subjects such as English, Reading Comprehension, Art, or history to qualify for such incentives. H.R. 3366 will also modify the provision in the Higher Education Act of 1965 that requires teachers to serve five consecutive school years to three consecutive school years to qualify for and receive student loan forgiveness.

“Providing quality education to students of all socio-economic backgrounds is among my greatest priorities. A large part of ensuring that all of our students receive the best education is by providing the brightest minds in the nation with incentive to pursue and stay with teaching careers. This legislation will do that by providing our teachers with access to crucially needed loan forgiveness programs that allow educators to pursue their career dreams and help our youth while providing themselves and their families with financial security,” said Rep. Lawrence, who introduced the bill on July 29.

The National Education Association states the average starting salary for a teacher is $36,141. Due to the cost of living, graduates in the worst shape with unmanageable debt can be found in Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The starting salary for educators in Michigan is also below the national average. The result: at a time when there is a great need for qualified teachers, young people are being discouraged from entering the profession.

“We must take a comprehensive approach to support American children from the time they’re born, helping them become the productive adults that our economy relies on. That hinges on a word-class education for every student ― and great teachers in every classroom. Careers in education are among the most important in our society, but unfortunately they’re among the most undervalued. Any steps we can take to encourage our best and brightest minds to teach, and ensure financial security for American teachers and their families is absolutely vital. This bill is a critical step,” said Co-Sponsor Rep. Coleman.

Additionally, H.R. 3366 will allow for the loan forgiveness amount currently allotted for math and science teachers to become available to educators who teach all subjects. With the loan forgiveness amount being equal for all teachers, those who are interested in a career in education but who were not planning on teaching math or science will now have greater incentive to teach a variety of valuable subjects.

“My political career began with my involvement in the PTA and my election to the Southfield Public School Board of Education, where I served as Secretary, Vice President, and President, because I understood from the very beginning that quality education is among the most critical if not the most critical need for of all communities,” Lawrence added. “This legislations shows my strong commitment to improving education in the 14th District, throughout Michigan, and nationwide.”