Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Launches $50 Million Raising Texas Teachers Program to Elevate Teaching Profession

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The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports programmatic initiatives structured to identify, pilot, and scale systemic improvements in public education. Visit RaiseYourHandTexas.org to learn more.

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– Program includes Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers and technical support for premier teacher preparation – 

AUSTIN, TX (July 10, 2017) – The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation announced the launch of Raising Texas Teachers, a program to provide $50 million over the next 10 years in scholarship funding for students committed to a career in teaching, and technical support for premier Texas teacher preparation programs. The investment is part of H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt’s continued philanthropic commitment to public education in Texas. Earlier this year, Butt pledged more than $100 million to establish The Holdsworth Center, a leadership institute devoted to supporting and developing public school leaders.

The scholarship program will grow to include at least 500 teaching fellows annually from over 10 university teacher preparation programs. Each teaching fellow will receive $8,000 per year as part of the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers, as well as ongoing training and development opportunities, mentorship from sitting public school educators, and involvement in a statewide aspiring teachers network facilitated by Raise Your Hand. The program will expand over time to include leadership development opportunities for the state’s top high school students interested in a career in education. Partner universities will also receive technical assistance support to increase the quality of teacher preparation in Texas.

“Research consistently shows that the strength of the teacher makes the biggest difference in influencing a student’s success,” said Charles Butt. “To improve academic achievement, it is critical that Texas elevate the status of the teaching profession, strengthen the existing pool of aspiring teachers, and inspire our most talented high school graduates to consider a career in teaching.”

According to the 2013 Global Teacher Status Index, the world’s highest performing students live in countries where teachers are well-qualified, well-trained and enjoy widespread respect in society.

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“No education system can be better than its teachers,” the report concluded. “Recruiting the brightest and best into teaching is a critical imperative in all nations, whatever their wealth or poverty.”

Today, prospective Texas educators are trained in a wide variety of settings, many of which do not require rigorous training in the classroom before stepping into the role of lead teacher.

“Too often, teachers are asked to learn on the job with too little formal training in the practice of teaching. We wouldn’t ask a pilot to learn on the job, nor a doctor without close supervision from an expert practitioner. The profession of teaching, and the education of our children, is no less important,” said Alison Badgett, Executive Director of Raise Your Hand Texas.  “With Raising Texas Teachers, our goal is to support universities who are rigorously preparing students to address the needs of 21st century students, and to help them to recruit the best and brightest to the profession.”

University partners were selected through a competitive RFP process based on their capacity and commitment to deliver competency-based clinical preparation, and a willingness to establish strong collaborative relationships with districts where graduates teach. Selected universities include:

  1. Our Lady of the Lake (San Antonio)
  2. Rice (Houston)
  3. Southern Methodist University (Dallas)
  4. Texas A&M University- Special Education program (College Station)
  5. Texas Tech University (Lubbock)
  6. Trinity University (San Antonio)
  7. University of North Texas-Dallas (Dallas)
  8. University of Houston (Houston)
  9. University of Texas Austin (Austin)
  10. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley- Student Teacher Educator Preparation: University Partnership (Edinburg)

“UTRGV is committed to preparing the caliber of teachers that all children deserve,” said Criselda Garcia, Associate Dean for Initial Preparation Programs and Academic Affairs at the UTRGV College of Education. “Doing so requires coupling coursework with clinical experiences that are of sufficient breadth and depth to allow for the bridging of theory to practice in authentic settings. STEP UP is designed to do just that. Our teacher candidates are placed in partner schools for a full academic year beginning on the first day that teacher report to campus. Together, we and our district partners, provide high quality, rigorous experiences with significant support, ensuring graduates are well equipped to meet the needs of all learners, both academic and affective. Our goal is to graduate pre-service teachers that are more reflective of a second year in-service teachers.”

A second cohort of emerging teacher preparation programs will receive technical assistance to improve their programs, and will be eligible for scholarship funding in future years.

For more about the initiative and RFP process, visit: RaisingTexasTeachers.org.

ABOUT RAISE YOUR HAND TEXAS FOUNDATION

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports programmatic initiatives structured to identify, pilot, and scale systemic improvements in public education. Visit RaiseYourHandTexas.org to learn more.