Austin Price / The Texas Tribune
The University of Texas at Austin has been named one of 10 Texas university partners by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, which announced the launch of Raising Texas Teachers this week. The program will provide $50 million over the next 10 years in scholarship funding for students committed to a career in teaching in addition to technical support for premier Texas teacher preparation programs.
Four programs within the College of Education’s curriculum and instruction department will benefit from the partnership: elementary ESL/generalist, elementary bilingual, special education, and UTeach Urban Teacher secondary education. 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 public school educators, and involvement in a statewide aspiring teachers network facilitated by Raise Your Hand.
“Preparing the next generation of teachers includes attracting those candidates most committed to diverse teaching and learning spaces and supporting them in the development of their understandings and practices,” said Curriculum and Instruction Chair Cinthia Salinas. “Our efforts at UT-Austin to purposefully recruit and retain students will be significantly aided by the generosity and purpose of the Raising Texas Teachers scholarships.”
The program will expand over time to include leadership development opportunities for Texas’s top high school students interested in a career in education. Partner universities will also receive technical assistance to improve 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.”
University partners, in addition to UT, include Trinity University, Rice University, the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, and Southern Methodist University. All were selected through a competitive RFP process based on their capacity and commitment to deliver competency-based clinical preparation and their willingness to establish strong collaborative relationships with districts where graduates teach.
"Our commitment to preparing elementary and secondary teachers for linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms focuses attention upon evidence- and field-based practices and our essential partnerships with public schools and community-based organizations like Breakthrough Austin," said Salinas.
Another UT program that will receive funding is UTeach Natural Sciences. UTeach Natural Sciences students major in a STEM field while concurrently earning a teaching credential.