This week, House Education and Workforce Committee Democrats introduced the Aim Higher Act, a comprehensive proposal to update the Higher Education Act (HEA). The HEA has been overdue for reauthorization since 2013, and New Leaders is pleased to see continued Congressional interest in making critical updates to the law, especially with regard to educator preparation and development.
The bill includes many improvements to Title II of the HEA, which provides federal grants to support the recruitment, preparation, and ongoing development of teachers, principals, and other school leaders. In particular, we are pleased that the Aim Higher Act would update the Teacher Quality Partnerships (TQP) grant program to reflect the need to improve the preparation and professional development of teacher leaders, principals, and other school leaders, including through paid residency programs, mentoring, and induction support. It would also improve transparency and accountability to support the continuous improvement of school leader development programs and put a sharper focus on increasing school leader diversity and advancing evidence-based strategies.
As Congress continues to debate proposals to reauthorize HEA, we encourage Members to retain these important improvements to Title II. In addition, we urge Members to consider updating relevant programs under Title II to support—and make eligible for grant funding—a wider range of programs that meet clear standards of quality, including those run by institutions of higher education as well as states, districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofits.
In addition, we are pleased that the bill maintains the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which encourages Americans to pursue public sector careers, including as teachers, principals, and other school leaders. Moving forward, we urge Members to consider adding principals, assistant principals, other school leaders, and teacher leaders to Title IV incentives currently designed for teachers, including TEACH grants, Perkins loan cancellation, and other federal loan forgiveness programs.