NYS lawmakers are working to address a problem facing many districts: the shortage of teachers.
It's a crisis CBS 6 has been following for months, only made worse by the pandemic: burnt out teachers leaving their jobs at a rate that's made replacing them difficult.
The "TEACH" stands for "teachers and educators aiding the communities they call home."
They're designed to offer underserved and underrepresented students a seamless path to a degree, teaching certification, and ultimately a job.
It's already underway in some form locally.
Back in 2021, we reported on the Schenectady City School District partnering with institutions including Clarkson University and SUNY Schenectady on these initiatives.
Traci Tucker is a seventh grade special education teacher in New York City. She says she's benefited from something like this, and it needs to expand address the teaching shortage:
"Schools have been a little disconnected from what the world looks like for students now... It's important to have fresh ideas, it's important to have people who know how to navigate these new systems and bring them into the classroom and just create an experience that is authentic for students to learn," Tucker told CBS 6 Special Projects Producer Shawn Robinson.
The staffing issues have persisted. Last August, local districts had dozens of openings.
Limarys Caraballo is an associate professor of English education at Teachers College, and says it's a good place to start:
One of the best things about the 'TEACH' act is that it calls attention to the fact that there are lots of underrepresented teacher candidates who are in the school systems right now - teaching assistants, para-educators and students - who could be supported toward becoming certified educators and administrators in the schools where they already serve. It's a good first step toward working across important challenges in navigating different types of institutions - school districts, community organizations and institutions of higher education - all of which are connected to an overall goal of increasing access of underrepresented candidates to the teaching profession in the communities where they live, Caraballo writes in a statement to CBS 6.
Several education leaders and former teachers have said a key part of the shortage seemed to be a "lack of respect" for the education profession.
The "TEACH" act also would use funding to work to create an early recruitment pipeline, beginning as soon as the middle school level.
Help can't come soon enough, since state officials say New York will need more than 180,000 teachers in the next decade.
The bill is currently in committee in the Assembly.