A two-year, national effort led by the University of Northern Iowa, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities has resulted in federal legislation introduced this week that creates a future vision for the federal role in educator preparation. 

The Educator Diversity, University and College Attainment, and Teacher Opportunity, Retention, and Success for America Act, or EDUCATORS for America, represents a UNI-led effort that engaged more than 400 educators, scholars, policy leaders, and college and university leaders from every state. Its provisions outline more than $1 billion in grants to states and institutions focused on forging new partnerships and pathways for educators, expanding the TEACH Grant and calling for enhanced institutional stewardship of the program to align with best practices UNI already employs, strengthening the Teacher and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs, fortifying the data-driven advisory relationship between the U.S. Department of Education and Congress, among other key provisions. Woven throughout each section is a focus on equity—assuring the contours of policy governing educator preparation at the federal level encompass the diverse needs of educators. 

“EDUCATORS for America represents a monumental step forward in the effort to grow, retain, and diversify our nation's educator workforce. With our roots in educator preparation, UNI appreciates the opportunity to help advance national policy to invest in our nation's educators and through them the quality of education our children receive,”  said President Mark A. Nook. “I want to thank Colleen Mulholland, Dean of the College of Education, and Andrew Morse, Chief of Staff and Federal Relations Officer, for their tireless efforts.”

“It is because of the rich tradition in educator preparation forged by past and current generations of faculty that we find ourselves in a strong position to shape the future of educator preparation in the United States,” said Mulholland. “For that, I want to thank all of our tremendous faculty across the university who prepare educators.” 

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island), U.S. Representative Alma Adams (North Carolina) and U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (Iowa) co-sponsored this legislation in Congress. UNI is also working with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities as lead partners on this national initiative. More than 40 national non-partisan organizations have endorsed this critical legislation. 

“This legislation is a game-changer in the policy discussion in Washington,” Morse said. “We will continue to advance policy actions at the state and federal levels that focus on strong support for current and future educators.”

The legislative summary and full text of EDUCATORS for America will be published on Congress.gov in the coming days. In addition to working with Congress to develop this legislation, UNI faculty and staff have advised the Biden-Harris administration on the critical policy actions needed to respond to the significant and longstanding policy challenges facing educator preparation. A policy memo distributed to the Biden-Harris Transition Team can be found here


Steve Schmadeke, UNI public relations manager, 319-273-6120, steve.schmadeke@uni.edu