Governor Hochul’s Plan will Incentivize Teaching as a Profession; Create a Robust Pipeline for Future Educators

Plan will Address New York’s Ongoing Teacher Shortage and Dramatically Increase Funding for K-12 Education

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a plan to rebuild New York’s teacher workforce, with an emphasis on recruiting and retaining teachers throughout the state to resolve the ongoing teacher shortage. Governor Hochul’s bold plan includes providing incentives for teachers, accelerating the state certification process, addressing student needs and creating a robust pipeline of future educators to ensure this shortage never again threatens the opportunities for families and children.

“Far more must be done to help New York’s school system overcome the challenges that existed before and were exacerbated by the pandemic,” Governor Hochul said. “We must do more to support students and teachers in our state and encourage a new generation to enter the field of education so that New York never again faces the chronic staffing shortages we are seeing today.”

In October, Governor Hochul announced that New York State will finally deliver on the promise of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and phase-in full funding of Foundation Aid to New York school districts by the 2023-24 school year. This will mean billions in additional support for the districts across the state and an unprecedented opportunity to bolster New York’s education system.

New York, however, is also facing a steep retirement cliff in the coming years -one that has been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. The state needs approximately 180,000 new teachers over the next decade to meet workforce needs.

To meet this crisis head on, Governor Hochul will take immediate actions to recruit and retain teachers, accelerate the teacher certification process, and dramatically increase funding for K-12 education. This includes: 

  • Providing incentives to attract more teachers and school workers: As an immediate step to shore up teacher shortages, the $35,000 income limit for certain retirees will be temporarily waived, thereby incentivizing some of the roughly 169,000 retired teachers throughout the state to rejoin the workforce. Retired counselors and school bus drivers will also be incentivized to return to work.   Alternative teacher certification programs, such as the New York City Teaching Collaborative, will also be expanded to make it easier and more appealing for professionals in other careers to become teachers. Aspiring teachers will apprentice in high-need school districts while pursuing a master’s degree in their field.
  • Accelerating the teacher certification process: The State Education Department (SED) will be provided additional staff for its teacher certification office to reduce review time. Additionally, the Governor will work with the Legislature and the SED to reform the certification process to allow for provisionally approved teachers to work immediately if they meet coursework, fingerprint, and background check requirements, thereby enabling candidates to teach while they wait for SED to complete its lengthy approval process. Provisional approval will also be extended to school counselors, social workers, and other SED-licensed professions with current job market shortages, as well as for retirees with expired licenses in good standing.
  • Providing learning and mental health grants: These grants will go to school districts to help address these challenges by providing resources, including more counselors and mental health programs and expanded learning opportunities.
  • Connecting student service corps with community groups to meet local needs: The Student Service Corps initiative will utilize the talent and energy of the tens of thousands of SUNY and CUNY students in programs related to childcare, education, counseling, and mental health to work with nonprofits schools and community organizations to help meet local needs for children and communities.
  • Creating a state teacher residency program: The Empire State Teacher Residency Program will provide matching funding for local districts to create two-year residency programs for graduate-level teacher candidates. Funded programs will involve SUNY, the City University of New York (CUNY), and/or private colleges partnering with public school districts to provide reduced or free tuition for teaching candidates, including books and fees, mentoring, and a stipend to cover living expenses. The program will prioritize diversity among teacher residents and partnering mentors and will place an emphasis on both high-need subject areas and geographic locations with teacher shortages.
  • Funding new cohorts of the master teacher program: These cohorts will be aimed at supporting teachers of color, Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, and guidance counselors. Special programming will focus on ensuring that all students have information and opportunities about CTE programs and alternative career pathways.
  • Upskilling teacher support workers to earn their certifications: This will provide funding for paraprofessionals to gain skills and credentials to become teachers, with a priority on diversity in the workforce. This program will cover two years of part-time tuition, fees, and books at SUNY and CUNY for those awarded paraprofessionals who remain employed in a school district while pursuing a teaching degree, and it will provide support for participants pursuing a teaching degree. School districts will be required to pair candidates with professional mentors.
  • Providing schools with billions of dollars by fully funding Foundation Aid: Fully funding Foundation Aid will bring to an end a 29-year battle over adequate funding of public schools -particularly those with higher-need students. This bold decision means all schools will now receive equitable resources.