AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, American Federation of Teachers affiliates are working to develop a robust educator pipeline across the U.S. to encourage young people and career changers to pursue careers in teaching and to increase diversity in the educator workforce; and 

WHEREAS, at the core of these initiatives are the development and expansion of grow-your-own (GYO) initiatives that cultivate relationships between P-12 school districts, higher education and community partners—programs that provide valuable early experiences for students considering a career in education, and help strengthen ties to community groups supporting students and families outside of school:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will call on legislators and the Department of Education to support and strengthen pathways for aspiring educators—including new students, career changers and teaching assistants—and remove impediments to preparation and teacher certification at the state level through the development and expansion of programs, including: 

  • Scholarship opportunities for education majors at higher education institutions covering not only tuition, but fees and books as well;
  • Career ladders that provide education and certification pathways for teaching assistants—many teaching assistants have their associate or bachelor’s degree and need the financial assistance and supports to become certified as a teacher;
  • Programs designed for career changers—school districts should partner with higher education institutions to design programs tailored to career changers in high shortage areas, such as career and technical education. These individuals come to the classroom with a wealth of working knowledge developed through their employment history;
  • Full financial program support and scholarships/grants for candidates enrolled at HBCUs, MSIs, HSIs and Tribal Colleges;
  • Fellowship opportunities within school districts. These programs provide pre-service training covering core teaching skills, customized academic programs, and support and guidance for fellows to obtain their teaching certification;
  • Residency programs developed through partnerships between higher education programs and public school districts that provide students with educational and teacher training and preparation, as well as financial assistance in the form of stipends allowing students to fully focus on their studies and student teaching;
  • Improved educator certification processes at the state level eliminating delays in educators receiving their teacher certification, which results in an unnecessary barrier to getting educators in the classroom; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will call on the Department of Education to provide grants to assist school districts with establishing and growing educator pipeline initiatives, such as GYO programs, and developing collaborations with established programs that have a proven track record of engaging students of color; and 

RESOLVED, that the AFT will call on school districts to review and update their hiring practices and work to identify and remove any obstacles or hurdles that create barriers to educators of color, and continue to support successful programs to expand the number of diverse teacher candidates available to be hired by districts throughout the U.S.; and 

RESOLVED, that AFT will call on the Department of Education to allocate funding to provide scholarship opportunities to potential educators, the creation of programs to support career ladders, career changers, fellowship and residency programs.

Adopted 9/29/2022