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New legislation by Kaine aims to address teacher shortage

Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine has reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education...
Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine has reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act to help schools address teacher shortages, particularly in rural areas.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine has reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act to help schools address teacher shortages, particularly in rural areas.

Kaine introduced the bipartisan bill with Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins. The bill would provide increased resources to schools facing a teacher shortage.

“It definitely does focus on both regions and academic disciplines where we’re short and we’re trying to come up with creative strategies to get people into the teaching profession who may not have come in otherwise,” said Kaine.

For example, Kaine says agriculture-related courses should be taught by those with real world experience.

“For an Ag teacher, you might want to find somebody whose primary work in life has been as a farmer and then do some intense training to enable that person to be a strong teacher,” said Kaine.

Kaine says teachers with these kinds real world expertise could improve the learning experience for students.

“The best people are probably gonna be folks who worked in the field, or owned a small business and then come into the classroom,” said Kaine. “So we’re trying to come up with new strategies for the ways to attract teachers into the classroom, maybe even in non-traditional ways.”

The bill also includes increased support for teacher prep at minority-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities. It would also foster partnerships between school districts and local colleges.

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