NASET News Alert

Nov 10

May 26, 2006

November 10, 2004-President Signs GOP Bill to Support Teachers & Needy Schools, Cut Off Excess Subsidies to Loan Providers

WASHINGTON , D.C. – President George W. Bush has signed into law a  bill to expand student loan relief for highly qualified teachers who teach key subjects in high poverty K-12 schools, where they are badly needed.  The bill, the Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act (H.R. 5186), was proposed by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to address the shortage of math, science, and special education teachers – a shortage that is particularly severe in rural and urban schools.  The bill cuts off excess subsidies for student loan providers, and uses the money to expand incentives to help states and schools recruit and retain the highly qualified teachers they need.

“States and schools are working to place a highly qualified teacher in every public school classroom, as called for by the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act,” said Boehner.  “The Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act creates real financial incentives to help rural and urban communities find and keep the teachers they need.  This is a benefit that will encourage teachers to stay in needy, Title I schools; a benefit they will get in a few years if they seek out teaching positions in the places that need them the most.”

The Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act more than triples the amount of student loan relief available to highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers who agree to teach for at least five years in needy schools.  To protect taxpayers and support school teachers, the bill:

Shuts down a 9.5 percent interest rate subsidy that has resulted in excess profits for some student loan providers, as President Bush first urged Congress to do in February 2004. 

Uses the savings achieved from shutting down the 9.5 percent subsidy to more than triple federal student loan forgiveness for math, science, and special education teachers who agree to teach for five or more years in high poverty K-12 schools.  The maximum amount would go from the current maximum of $5,000 to a new maximum of $17,500. 

Shuts down excess subsidies without shutting down smaller, non-profit student aid providers.  House Democrats, after spending most of 2004 opposing a GOP bill that would permanently shut down the excess subsidies and failing to include language in their own Higher Education Act reauthorization bill to address the 9.5 percent loans, changed course in September 2004 and introduced legislation that would go too far, sparking outrage from non-profit student aid providers across the nation.  The legislation signed by President Bush cuts off the excess subsidies without taking this harmful step.

“The Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act is a double victory for America ’s parents, students, and taxpayers,” said Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the 21st Century Competitiveness Subcommittee.  “The plan not only eliminates the 9.5 percent subsidy as President Bush has been requesting all year, but it addresses the very serious problem of a lack of highly qualified teachers in math, science, and special education.”

K-12 schools in high-poverty areas are facing a shortage of qualified teachers in key subjects.  The loan forgiveness under the Taxpayer-Teacher Protect Act closely resembles the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act (H.R. 438), legislation introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in July 2003.

“With common sense solutions, we are making it possible to have a highly qualified teacher in every classroom,” said Wilson .  “This is such great news for children in disadvantaged schools throughout the nation.  I have long believed that increased student loan forgiveness for teachers in key subjects will help alleviate the teacher shortages in rural and urban schools.  By signing this bill, the President is helping make that goal a reality.”

The expanded loan forgiveness, an initiative proposed by President Bush in both his FY 2004 and FY 2005 budgets, will serve as a valuable recruiting tool for needy schools.  The increased loan forgiveness of $17,500 will be available to teachers after five years, providing an incentive for highly qualified teachers in these subject areas not only to teach in high poverty schools, but to stay there for at least five years.

H.R. 5186 has been applauded by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which represents 100,000 educators across the nation.

“We are pleased and gratified to see action being taken to provide tangible support for the oft-stated goal of attracting and retaining quality mathematics teachers in classrooms where they are most needed,” wrote NCTM President Cathy L. Seeley in an October 4, 2004 letter to Chairman Boehner.  “Providing up to $17,500 in federal student loan forgiveness for deserving early-career teachers should make our critically important and rewarding profession more appealing to young teachers.”

Back to NASET News Alert
lost password?