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Reps. Jackson, Cuellar, Lamborn, and Strickland Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Teacher Shortages in Military Communities

WASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) introduced the bipartisan Defense Community Teacher Support Act. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate. In TX-13, this legislation would support teachers at military impacted schools in the Wichita Falls ISD near Sheppard Air Force Base.

This bill would make teachers in military communities eligible for Federal student loan relief after five years of service. It would also support military spouses by letting them work toward loan forgiveness even if they are forced to relocate due to the service members’ permanent change of station orders.

Jackson said: “One of the biggest problems facing military communities is recruiting and retaining teachers, so I am proud to be a part of a bipartisan solution. The quality of a student’s education should not be determined by their zip code. This bill will make sure military communities are able to attract outstanding teachers, therefore helping students thrive. I also believe that it is our duty in Congress to take care of military families because spouses and children serve right alongside the service member. My legislation ensures military spouses have access to the same federal programs as non-military spouses do. I will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to ensure U.S. Military communities around the globe are not left behind.”

Sheppard Military Affairs Committee President Glenn Barham said: “By providing loan forgiveness to help teachers take care of their student loans accrued during their education, the Defense Community Teacher Support Act introduced by Congressman Jackson encourages new teachers to seek employment in school districts, like Wichita Falls ISD, where large numbers of military children are found. Getting high quality teachers in these defense communities assures military families that their children’s education is of high importance to those outside the military.”

Cuellar said: “We need to ensure that students who go to school in, or surrounding military bases receive a quality education. These are children of parents who have risked their lives defending our country. We owe it to them to make sure that they get the support that they need. We owe it to the teachers who dedicate their careers to helping children and serving our country. I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan bill that prioritizes our teachers and future generations.”

Association of Defense Communities Executive Director Matt Borron said: “When a military family is moving to a new duty location, the most common first question is about the local school system. It’s important that schools in defense communities can recruit and retain educators who understand the unique experiences of military-connected students. It is a critical part of ensuring a high quality of life for military families, which is key to continued military readiness.”

Jackson serves as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Bill text can be found here.