The American Legion is one of four veterans service organizations (VSOs) that joined together to stress the value of the Troops to Teachers program and to urge Congress to reauthorize funding for the program in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA).
“We believe the value of Troops to Teachers cannot be understated,” the VSOs wrote in a joint letter to leadership in the House Committee on Armed Services. “It provides employment assistance to transitioning veterans, which aids in lowering veteran unemployment; it alleviates nationwide teaching shortages, which improves education quality; and it increases access and representation among traditionally less-represented groups to teaching careers.”
The American Legion was joined by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.
Established in 1993, Troops to Teachers was designed to assist transitioning servicemembers and veterans to begin careers as educators in K-12 public, charter, and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. The Department of Defense reported that the program placed over 21,000 veteran teachers in classrooms since its inception. Additionally, the program provides counseling and referral services to help participants meet education and licensing requirements, as well as helps them secure a teaching position. Since 1993, more than 100,000 veterans have successfully transitioned to a career in education.
The program was defunded with little notice to servicemembers as part of the Defense-Wide Review when the Department of Defense opted to realign program resources to higher priority programs more closely aligned to the National Defense Strategy. The American Legion stands firm with the other VSOs that this is unacceptable.
“Allowing the Troops for Teachers program to sunset would go against America’s critical need to support our children’s education,” they wrote.
The version of the NDAA recently passed by the House of Representatives did not include funding for Troops to Teachers, however the Senate version of the bill does. Negotiations on the FY2022 NDAA are expected to continue through December.
American Legion Resolution No. 21: Support State and National Funding for Troops to Teachers Program resolves The American Legion’s support for renewing funding for the Troops to Teachers program at both state and national levels.
“We implore you to champion this established program and stand with veterans by protecting Troops to Teachers from termination,” the VSOs concluded.