FRANKFORT, Ky. — Citing both a national and statewide teacher shortage, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis announced a new campaign and website to recruit and inspire the next generation of educators.
“From 2008 to 2017, the U.S. saw a 27% decrease in completion of education preparation programs; in Kentucky that decrease was 36%. This trend is creating a crisis,” said Lewis. “As schools begin a new year, districts are still clamoring to fill positions. If one child starts school without a qualified teacher in the classroom it’s one child too many. Unfortunately, for another school year, this will be the case for many Kentucky students.”
During the Aug. 7 Kentucky Board of Education meeting, Lewis unveiled the Go Teach KY website and social media accounts. Applications for the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching (KAET) renewable loan forgiveness program also are being accepted as part of the campaign.
During the meeting, Commissioner Lewis made a direct appeal to the citizens of Kentucky to consider teaching as a first, second or even third career.
“You can positively impact the lives of children and families now and for generations to come. You can inspire Kentucky’s next generation of scientists, healthcare professionals, educators, attorneys, and more,” said Lewis, who started his career in education as a teacher in New Orleans. “What’s missing in Kentucky’s schools? You. Take the next step toward teaching. Kentucky students need you.”
The Go Teach KY website shows the many pathways that an individual can take to become a teacher, starting as early as high school, with the Educators Rising program and teaching and learning career pathway. Undecided college students are also a focus of the recruitment campaign, as well as professionals who already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and trade workers eager to pass their knowledge of the trades to younger generations.
As a part of the Go Teach Kentucky campaign, the department is also now taking applications for the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching (KAET) renewable loan forgiveness program. KAET is designed to identify and prepare a pool of highly effective educators poised to transition into the teaching profession through financial support, training and mentorships by experienced and effective educators.
The program is funded by a $1 million per year allocation in the 2018 Kentucky state budget for educator quality and diversity through the teacher recruitment and retention program.
“Ensuring that Kentucky students have access to a diverse, high quality, effective teacher workforce is a high priority for me and KDE,” said Lewis. “There is no single school factor more important to the success of students than having an effective classroom teacher. KAET will be instrumental in recruiting more talented young people and experienced professionals into the teaching profession who mirror the incredible diversity of our state. It also will provide additional support to those preservice teachers as they prepare to serve students.”
Undergraduate students enrolled in educator preparation programs can receive up to $5,000 per semester for up to four semesters over the course of three academic years and receive no more than $20,000 total. They must be enrolled in an educator preparation program or have an application on file with a Kentucky university.
Students in an initial certification master’s educator preparation programs are eligible to receive up to $2,500 per semester for up to four semesters over the course of three academic years and receive no more than $10,000 total. They must be admitted to a MAT educator preparation program or have an application on file with a public Kentucky university. Eligibility requirements and an online application can be found on the Go Teach KY website and on KDE’s website.