Veterans are urging Congress to reinstate the Troops to Teachers program, which was terminated earlier this month.
A group of veterans’ organizations addressed a letter to Congress on Thursday pushing them to overturn the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) decision to abolish the Troops to Teachers military education program.
The Department of Defense (DoD) established the program in 1993 to assist U.S. veterans moving out of the service in finding new employment in education.
According to the Military Times, at least 23,000 people have gone through the Troops to Teachers program, which paid up to $10,000 to veterans seeking work in understaffed and underfunded schools.
According to the New York Times, Troops to Teachers costs around $15 million every year.
The Department of Defense, on the other hand, indicated that the initiative would be phased out in order to fund “higher priority programs more directly connected to the National Defense Strategy.” States might continue to help applications until May 2022, according to the statement.
The Pentagon had reportedly pondered ending Troops to Teachers on several occasions and “threatened to terminate the program several times in previous years,” according to the New York Times.
Leaders of a number of veteran advocacy groups have petitioned the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to reopen the Troops to Teachers program, stating that closing it “would go against America’s fundamental obligation to support our children’s education.”
The American Legion, Students Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars were among the prominent nonprofits represented.
According to the organizations, “studies have demonstrated that Troops to Teachers instructors cover thousands of openings in high-needs schools and subject areas.”
“[Educators] are more likely to stay in their jobs after becoming teachers; they are deemed good instructors; they have high job and life happiness; and they even have a beneficial effect on improving student willingness to serve,” the letter stated.
Some veterans’ organizations’ leaders also spoke out against the DOD’s decision.
“[Troops to Teachers] sends a message to our service members that they can continue to serve in their communities after they hang up their uniforms, and that’s a message we need to keep sending,” said John Kamin, an American Legion associate.
“The Department of Defense may not consider this a policy priority, but the American Legion certainly does,” Kamin added.
The Senate has already budgeted for at least four more years of troop deployment. This is a condensed version of the information.