Stipend proposed for student teachers in Pennsylvania

Teacher Reading to Preschool Students
Photo: Yan Krukov/Pexels

(The Center Square) – Legislators believe a $10,000 stipend may encourage student teachers to stay in Pennsylvania long term.

Sens. Ryan Aument, R-Lititz, and Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, say their proposal offers another incentive to ease the state’s educator crisis.

As it is, student teachers must perform 12 weeks of training unpaid.

“Our current system puts a financial burden on prospective teachers and in turn we’re seeing many individuals who would be great educators turn to other professions,” Hughes said. “We need to act now to reduce this financial burden for future teachers to improve the quality and diversity of our teacher pipeline. Further inaction will only harm the future of our students.”

report published in February found annual teacher certifications plummeted from 20,000 to fewer than 7,000 over the last decade.

The state Department of Education issued just 5,000 new teaching certificates last year, mirroring data collected by Penn State University and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania that concluded this shortage will continue for the foreseeable future.

“If we do nothing to get more teachers into Pennsylvania schools, our children will suffer consequences like overcrowded classrooms, impersonal instruction, and fewer course options,” Aument said. “Teachers will have less time to help our most vulnerable children, resulting in more students being left behind.”

In addition to the bill’s $10,000 stipend, student teachers will receive an additional $5,000 for training in schools with more vacancies or wouldn’t traditionally provide training. Teachers who agree to mentor the trainees will be paid $1,000.

It’s not the only incentive program on the radar, however. Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to give tax credits to residents who choose in-demand professions – including teachers, health care workers, and law enforcement officers.

Although disagreement persists about the best way to grow the workforce, consensus exists that reversing the state’s demographic imbalance tops the list of priorities.

Christen Smith
Christen joins The Center Square as its Pennsylvania News Editor and brings with her more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues from all angles. She’s a Pennsylvania State University alumna and has been published in the The Washington Examiner, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, RealClear and Broad+Liberty, among others.

Don't Miss Out!

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest education news and commentary everyone ought to know about.