Note: This site is primarily for Teacher Quality Enhancement Program grantees funded prior to 2009. The Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) made substantial changes to the Teacher Quality Program. The new TQ Program is administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. The new program Web site may be found at: www.ed.gov/programs/tqpartnership/. The Frequently Asked Questions below are in reference to the older Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Program authorized as part of the 1998 amendments to the Higher Education Act.
Title II of the Higher Education Act
- What are the goals of the Teacher Quality Programs in Title II of the Higher Education Act?
The Teacher Quality programs provide a historic opportunity to effect positive change in the recruitment, preparation, licensing, and on-going support of teachers in America. The programs are designed to increase student achievement by implementing comprehensive approaches to improving teacher quality.
- Why do we need to focus on teacher quality now?
More than ever before in our history, teaching is the profession that is shaping the nation's future--molding the skills of our future workforce and laying the foundation for good citizenship and full participation in community and civic life.
Accordingly, what teachers know and are able to do is critically important. Yet, we face daunting challenges as we seek to ensure a national teaching force of the highest quality. As classrooms grow more challenging and diverse, these teachers will need to be well prepared to teach all students to the highest standards. Contemporary classrooms and social conditions confront teachers with a range of complex challenges previously unknown in the profession. New education goals and tougher standards, more rigorous assessments, site-based management, greater interest in parental involvement, the continuing importance of safety and discipline, and expanded use of technology increase the knowledge and skills that teaching demands. The three Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Programs in Title II of the Higher Education Act offer an opportunity to improve teacher quality in America by effectively addressing these challenges.
- What programs does Title II of the Higher Education Act fund, and what are their funding levels?
Title II, entitled "Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants to States and Partnerships," consists of three complementary programs that focus on improving the quality of teaching in America.
- How will applicants be selected to receive grants?
Grantees are selected through a rigorous peer review process that includes members of the higher education and K-12 communities. Selection is based on criteria stated in the application and published in the Federal Register.
Title II Grants to States
- What is the purpose of the state grants in Title II?
Competitive grants to states support the implementation of comprehensive statewide reforms to improve the quality of the funded states' teaching forces. By law, state activities may include efforts to: strengthen teacher certification standards; hold institutions of higher education accountable for high-quality teacher preparation; establish or strengthen alternative pathways into teaching; recruit teachers for high-poverty urban and rural areas; and address the problem of social promotion.
- Who can apply for the state grants?
The legislation requires that the applicant be the governor of a state or, in the case of a state whose constitution or law designates another individual, entity, or agency in the state to be responsible for teacher certification and preparation activity, that individual, entity, or agency. Because the goal of the program is to promote comprehensive, statewide reforms to improve teacher quality, successful applicants also may want to coordinate with other entities within the state that make and implement policies relating to the teaching profession. Because these are one-time awards, states previously funded under the program are not eligible to apply.
- What types of proposals are expected to be most promising?
State applicants are encouraged to determine the most appropriate focus for an effective statewide reform effort. For example, states may want to propose fundamental reforms in:
- teacher licensure, certification, and preparation policies and practices, including rigorous alternative routes to certification;
- wholesale redesign of teacher preparation programs, in collaboration with the K-12 schools and using models that include stronger academic content in teacher education programs;
- improved linkages between higher education institutions and K-12 schools, with more time spent in K-12 classroom settings by college faculty and teacher education students and with greater use of technology, including the instructional uses of technology, in the teacher education programs;
- the redesign and improvement of existing teacher professional development programs to improve the content knowledge, technology skills, and teaching skills of practicing teachers;
- the use of new strategies to attract, support and retain highly qualified teachers in high-poverty urban and rural areas;
- improved accountability for high-quality teaching through performance-based compensation and the expeditious removal of incompetent or unqualified teachers while ensuring due process; and
- the development and implementation of efforts to address the problem of social promotion and to prepare teachers to deal with the issues raised by ending social promotion.
There are a number of examples of states that already have made a significant commitment to state- and system-wide reform of teacher preparation as one element of an overall strategy to ensure successful learning for all students. These states may seek additional support through this grant program to enhance their efforts.
States that have not yet done the groundwork to determine the most effective use of grant resources to improve teacher quality might propose to use state grant funds to conduct state-level analyses of their current system of teacher preparation--looking at program quality in light of state student achievement and school improvement goals--in order to identify the needs, as well as all the players who must be involved in an effective statewide reform effort, and to propose and implement a strategy for effective change.
- Will the Department use priorities or competitive preferences to award state grants?
While the law authorizes funding to support a wide range of state activities, Congress designated three of these as priorities. Therefore, the Department will establish competitive preferences for applications that address one or more of the following three activities:
- initiatives to reform state teacher certification requirements that are designed to ensure that current and future teachers possess the necessary teaching skills and academic content knowledge in subject areas in which the teachers are certified or licensed to teach;
- innovative reforms to hold institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs accountable for preparing teachers who have strong teaching skills and are highly competent in the academic content area in which the teachers' plan to teach; and
innovative efforts to reduce the shortage of highly qualified teachers in high-poverty urban and rural areas.
- Is there a matching requirement for the state grants?
As required by law, a recipient of a state grant, including state recipients of Teacher Recruitment grants, must provide, from non-federal sources, an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount of the grant each year (cash or in kind) to carry out the grant activities.
Title II Grants to Partnerships for Improving Teacher Preparation
- What is the purpose of the Partnership Grant Program?
The purpose of the Partnership Grant Program is to bring about fundamental change and improvement in traditional teacher education programs, thereby increasing teachers' capacity to help all students learn to high standards. These grants are designed to support highly committed partnerships that will accelerate the change process in teacher education. The program will strengthen the vital role of K-12 educators in designing and implementing effective teacher education programs and increase collaboration between departments of arts and sciences and schools of education.
The program is designed to make an important impact on teacher education and thereby increase significantly the number of new teachers emerging from programs that have been redesigned to ensure that new teachers have the content knowledge and skills to be effective educators.
- Who can apply for Partnership grants?
By law, an eligible grant applicant is a partnership that includes, at a minimum:
- a public or private institution of higher education whose teacher education program is effective (as demonstrated by certain types of evidence stipulated in the statute);
- a school of arts and sciences; and
- a high-need local educational agency (LEA).
Because many entities contribute to the success of teacher education programs, partnerships may also include other school districts and higher education institutions (including community colleges), governors, state boards of education, state educational agencies and agencies for higher education, nonprofit organizations, pre-school programs, teacher organizations, and the business community.
- What activities will be supported by Partnership grants?
The grants will support efforts to strengthen teacher education by:
- increasing collaboration between schools of education and the schools of arts and sciences in order to improve prospective teachers' content knowledge;
- improving links to K-12 schools and providing high-quality, intensive, clinical experiences to ensure that prospective teachers learn effective teaching skills;
- integrating reliable, research-based teaching methods and technology instruction into the curriculum; and
- creating opportunities for enhanced, sustained professional development.
Partnerships may also use grant funds to prepare teachers to work with diverse student populations, including students with disabilities and limited English proficiency, and to involve their parents; to broadly disseminate information on effective practices in teacher education; and to provide principals and superintendents with effective leadership skills.
- What kinds of applications will be most promising?
The strength of applications will be assessed in terms of their quality, feasibility, sustainability, and potential significance. Reviewers must determine that an application is of high quality and can be sustained during and beyond the grant period. Selection will be made based on the selection criteria published in the application and in the Federal Register.
- Since the Department seeks grantees that can make a significant impact, does this mean that only partnerships among large universities have a chance of receiving grants?
No. Reviewers will look for high-quality applications that will affect significant numbers of new teachers. In assessing the quality of an application, reviewers will be looking for evidence that the institutions of higher education within a partnership demonstrate an institution-wide commitment to teacher preparation. Reviewers may find that partnerships made up of small teacher education institutions that have made teacher education a top priority are more competitive than partnerships of larger institutions that have not made teacher preparation a major focus.
- What kinds of evidence does a partnership need to provide regarding the effectiveness of participating institutions of higher education at preparing teachers?
By law, a partnership must contain at least one institution of higher education that either:
- Produces graduates who exhibit strong performance by (1) demonstrating an 80 percent or higher pass rate on all applicable state qualifying assessments for new teachers (including assessments of subject matter knowledge); or (2) ranking among the highest-performing teacher preparation programs in the state, as determined by the state; or
- Requires all students to participate in intensive clinical experience, to meet high academic standards, and to complete an academic major or demonstrate competence in relevant content areas.
What is a "high-need" local educational agency?
A high-need local educational agency (LEA) is a public school district that meets one or more of the following three criteria:
- It has at least one school in which 40 percent or more of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced lunch subsidies, or that otherwise is eligible, without receipt of a waiver, to operate as a school-wide program under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
- It has at least one school in which:
- More than 34 percent of academic classroom teachers overall at the secondary level (across all academic subjects) do not have a major, minor, or significant course work in their main assignment field, or
- More than 34 percent of the main assignment faculty in two of the academic departments do not have a major, minor, or significant work in their main assigned field.
- It has at least one elementary or secondary school whose teacher attrition rate has been 15 percent or more over the last three school years.
Why does the Partnership Program target the preparation of teachers who will work in high-need communities?
Newly hired teachers in poor urban and rural areas are often among the least prepared and most inadequately supported, and yet, students in these areas often need the most highly qualified teachers, teachers who know their subject areas as well as how to teach those subjects. Improving the recruitment, preparation, and retention of high-quality teachers in high-need communities is an essential step in expanding access to quality education. In addition, identifying the best techniques for preparing teachers for our nation's most challenging teaching assignments will provide a foundation for excellence in the preparation of all our teachers.
- What is the role of elementary and secondary school districts in the partnerships?
Applications will be evaluated, in part, based on the extent of collaboration between the higher education institutions and school districts in the partnerships, including the important role that elementary and secondary educators will play in designing and implementing teacher education programs that respond to their needs. A promising application would include K-12 schools and school districts in the joint governance structure of the partnership and would provide for schools to receive a portion of funding from the grant. This is a customer-oriented focus to ensure that colleges and universities that train new teachers design and operate their programs in response to the needs of school districts and their students.
- Will the Department use priorities or competitive preferences to award partnership grants?
The Secretary awards up to ten points on the basis of how well an application addresses the following statutory priority: a significant role for private business in the design and implementation of the partnership.
- Is there a matching requirement for the Partnership Grants?
By law, a recipient of a Partnership grant must provide, from non-Federal sources (in cash or in kind), an amount equal to 25 percent of the grant for the first year, 35 percent for the second year, and 50 percent for the third, fourth, and fifth years of the grant.
Title II Teacher Recruitment Grants
- What is the purpose of the Teacher Recruitment Grants?
The Teacher Recruitment Grants--awarded either to states or to partnerships--are designed to reduce shortages of highly qualified teachers in high-need school districts.
Local partnerships between school districts and teacher preparation institutions have been found to be very effective at providing teachers for communities where they are most needed. This "grow your own" approach is also effective for these communities because individuals who are already members of a community are likely to remain there after they become teachers. The recruitment grants will allow individual schools and communities to determine their needs for teachers and to recruit and prepare teachers who meet those needs.
States can also play an important role in ensuring that high-need school districts are able to recruit highly qualified teachers, and they can use the recruitment grants to develop and implement effective mechanisms to do so.
- Who can apply for Teacher Recruitment Grants?
There are two kinds of eligible applicants for the Teacher Recruitment Program:
States (applicants eligible to apply for Title II State Grants); and
Partnerships (applicants eligible to apply for the teacher preparation partnerships, for example, partnerships among, at a minimum, teacher preparation institutions, schools of arts and sciences, and a high-need LEA).
What is the average annual award?
The average annual award was approximately $803,061 in FY 2007.
- What activities will a Teacher Recruitment Grant support?
Activities must focus on reducing shortages of highly qualified teachers who will teach in high-need school districts. States or partnerships will carry out an assessment of the school district's most critical needs for teachers. They will then design and implement activities to recruit and prepare individuals who meet those needs. The partners might identify a particular need for minority teachers, science or special education teachers, or they might decide to recruit paraprofessionals, mid-career professionals, or former military personnel into teaching. (These are only examples. Applicants could choose any focus that responds to their LEA partner needs.)
Funds may be used to award scholarships to help prospective teachers pay the costs of tuition, room, board, and other expenses. They may be used to provide support services during teacher preparation programs, and to support new teachers during their first three years of teaching and/or to develop and implement other effective mechanisms for meeting the needs of high-need school districts for well qualified teachers. Scholarship recipients must commit to teaching in the high-need school district after completing the teacher preparation program.
- How will the program hold scholarship recipients accountable for fulfilling their commitment to teach in high-need schools?
Regulations governing scholarships awarded under this program may be found at:
- Is there a matching requirement for Teacher Recruitment Grants?
Yes, but by law, the requirement differs depending on whether the applicant is a state or partnership.
- A state that receives a recruitment grant must provide, from non-federal sources, an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount of the grant each year (cash or in kind) to carry out the grant activities.
- A partnership that receives a recruitment grant must provide, from non-Federal sources (cash or in kind), an amount equal to 25 percent of the grant for the first year, 35 percent for the second year, and 50 percent for the third, fourth, and fifth years of the grant.