We hope that your days are filled with peace and joy. It is hard to believe that we have just marked the three-year anniversary to the start of the pandemic. During this challenging period, it has been our honor to support campus families. The Office of Child Care and Family Resources team continues to marvel at the unwavering commitment of campus and network teachers to our youngest learners and their families. We look forward to a safe and promising future.
One of our most pressing concerns is the growing teacher shortage. This crisis is affecting families, businesses, and the workforce nationwide. Demand for high-quality child care is increasing while the supply of qualified teachers is on the decline. Consequences include growing waitlists for childcare slots and higher tuition costs for families. Teacher shortages continue to impact UW-Madison campus childcare centers, resulting in classroom closures and a reduction in the number of families served.
The UW-Madison School of Education, our administrative home, has taken a major step to address the teacher shortage and to establish a thriving pipeline of teachers in our state. This Initiative is called the Teacher Pledge program. It is an opt-in loan forgivable program for teacher education students who make a commitment to stay and teach in Wisconsin post-graduation. The financial rewards include in-state tuition along with testing and licensing costs. Here is the most exciting news of all: student-teachers in our three campus childcare centers have been approved for inclusion in this program. So, aspiring early education students who enroll in a School of Education teacher education program and who agree to the terms of this pledge qualify for this substantial financial aid package. Becoming a teacher at one of the top schools of education in the nation is a dream come true!
Our campus centers contribute to the university’s teaching mission by offering student-teacher practicums, internships and teacher-assistant job opportunities. Paid internships yield numerous benefits for students, including hands-on experience while they are building their resume and references, improved confidence and competence, and the possibility for post-graduation employment. We hope that the Teacher Pledge Program will help address teacher shortages and create mutually beneficial partnerships. I have been working on creating this alliance to benefit everyone who is involved and to provide financial support for UW campus child care centers to offer paid internships to students.
All the Best,