With the goals of boosting the quality and quantity of teachers in Pennsylvania, two Philadelphia legislators announced a slate of teacher-friendly legislation yesterday.
If they become law, the seven bills would direct an estimated $14 million toward recruiting and retaining teachers in rural and urban communities, said state Reps. Dwight Evans and James R. Roebuck.
Both men are members of the new-majority Democratic Party in the Legislature. They plan to introduce the legislation next week, they said.
"If we want our children to have a great education, then we must be willing to provide the best support possible to those who want to be teachers or those who already are in the classroom," said Evans, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He is also a candidate for Philadelphia mayor.
"We need to make teaching one of the top career choices for our college-bound students," said Roebuck, the new chairman of the House Education Committee.
The seven proposals were previously announced as part of Evans' mayoral education strategy. They call for:
* a loan-forgiveness program for teachers willing to teach in communities with critical shortages;
* signing bonuses to first-year teachers who work in such communities;
* support and training to reduce turnover among new teachers;
* a recruitment program in the Department of Education to provide scholarships to those who commit to teach in urban schools;
* "Call Me Mister" programs at colleges to recruit African-American men to teach in elementary schools;
* a Pennsylvania Governor's School for teaching in Philadelphia;
* a two-year induction program for new teachers, expanding it from its current one year.