Wisconsin Lawmakers Consider Loan Forgiveness to Expand Teacher Pool
A bill with bipartisan support in the Wisconsin legislature could expand the eligibility for loan forgiveness for participants in a program aimed at growing the number of minority teachers in the state.
Assembly Bill 51 has already received the unanimous support of the state Assembly’s Colleges and Universities Committee whose members endorsed its potential to close the diversity gap in the Wisconsin teaching pool.
And it has now received a first reading by the state Senate’s Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families.
Lawmaker’s previously sought to boost the number of African-American, Native American, Latino and Southeast Asian student teachers in its schools through the state’s Minority Teacher Loan Program, but the program has had few takers in recent years.
The loans, which ranged from $250 to $10,000, are available to undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors, but last year, only one student applied.
The Assembly bill is a bid to make the loans more enticing by offering out the possibility that they’ll ultimately be forgiven.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 95% of teachers are white compared to 69% of school children that are white.
According to several studies, minority students perform better in classrooms when they have a minority teacher that looks like them.
African-Americans make up Wisconsin’s largest minority at 10%.
The Wisconsin legislature did not stop with Bill 51 when it came to making changes to the state’s education system.
While state lawmakers did not move to increase teacher salaries, they are trying to make the certification process easier for future teachers.
One of the bills that passed the Assembly this session would make it easier for teachers with out-of-state licenses to obtain a license in Wisconsin.
Another would do away with the requirement for special education teachers to pass the Foundations of Reading Test, which tests prospective teachers for literacy competence and acquisition.
Both bills have been referred to the state Senate where their prospects are uncertain.
In The News
Amanda Schermerhorn recently majored in political science at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. During the pandemic, she often had to use her Detroit Lakes campus free wi-fi from her car in the parking lot, along with other students, just to finish her classwork due to... Read More
President Joe Biden has met his goal of having most elementary and middle schools open for full, in-person learning in his first 100 days, according to new survey data, but the share of students choosing to return has continued to lag far behind. The survey, conducted... Read More
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The president of Harvard University is urging the White House to untangle barriers put in place by the Trump administration and make it easier for international students to engage in low residency or hybrid educational programs. In a letter to Tracy Renaud, acting... Read More
Tara Roberts, a single mother of eight, was committed but “in tears” as she opened her first classroom door at Portland Community College, said Mark Mitsui, president of PCC. She now holds a doctorate in nursing, is a health care administrator, all her kids completed post-secondary... Read More
WASHINGTON - Nearly 70% of Americans agree with universities and colleges mandating all staff and students be vaccinated for COVID-19 before they resume face-to-face operations, a new, Back-to-Normal Barometer survey has found. The survey asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: I support... Read More
Johns Hopkins University and its Whiting School of Engineering announced Thursday that they are establishing the Ralph S. O'Connor Sustainable Energy Institute to support ongoing research and education in the fields of clean, renewable, and sustainable energy technologies. The wide-ranging effort is the results of a $20 million gift... Read More