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Kaine Introduces Bill to Strengthen Data Collection on Teacher Workforce, Help Address Workforce Shortages

Better data on teacher workforce would help address widespread shortages

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Supporting Teaching and Learning through Better Data Act, legislation to help address teacher workforce shortages by strengthening data collection on the teacher workforce. There are several existing mechanisms for collecting data on the teacher workforce, but the data is often inaccurate and incomplete, making it difficult for policymakers and school districts to address widespread teacher shortages. By strengthening existing data collection mechanisms, this bill would help local, state, and federal officials develop better solutions to address teacher shortages in different states or regions. The bill would also establish a grant program to help state agencies understand and address the need for more well-prepared and diverse educators. The bill is cosponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).

“It’s critical that policymakers and school districts have up-to-date information to better understand what’s contributing to our nation’s teacher shortages and how we can tackle this problem,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m proud to introduce this bill to strengthen existing data collection efforts on our teacher workforce and help address teacher shortages.”

“If we want to grow the economy and the middle class, we need an educated workforce. This bill would help confront teacher shortages and find innovative ways of building resilient pipelines of teachers across the country,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Service, and Education, and a longtime champion for educator preparation and professional development. 

Specifically, the Supporting Teaching and Learning through Better Data Act would:

  • Require the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to conduct a study on current data collections related to the educator workforce.
  • Provide recommendations on strengthening educator workforce data collection, analysis, timeliness, and dissemination, that can help stakeholders and policymakers understand and address educator supply, demand, and shortages.
  • Identify gaps in existing federal data sources, such as the qualifications and credentials of the teacher workforce, compensation information, and number of teachers that have received federal grants, and make recommendations for closing such gaps.
  • Create a program to provide grants to state education agencies to improve educator workforce data collection and better identify inequities. Understanding these gaps will be critical to inform strategies to recruit qualified teachers to underserved communities.

Kaine has long supported efforts to address teacher shortages. Kaine has introduced the PREP Act, which would address teacher and principal shortages, particularly in rural communities. Kaine also introduced the DIVERSIFY Act, which would help attract more teachers to the field and expand teacher diversity. Kaine has also cosponsored legislation to help address educator shortages by strengthening the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

Full text of the bill is available here. A summary of the bill is available here.