Press Releases

Press Release of Senator Walsh

Walsh introduces bill to recruit, retain American Indian teachers

Senator’s bill will bolster education workforce in American Indian classrooms

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

(US SENATE) - Senator John Walsh today introduced the American Indian Teacher Loan Forgiveness Act of 2014 to help recruit and retain teachers in areas with high concentrations of American Indian students.  Walsh’s bill will ease the financial burden teachers face, making it easier for American Indian teachers to stay in the classroom.

“We must provide a quality education to all of our students in Montana to set them on a path for success, and continue to build our roster of qualified and dedicated teachers in American Indian communities,” Walsh said.

Walsh’s bill will provide up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness for American Indian teachers who teach for five consecutive years at a school with a high percentage of American Indian students – 10 students or 25 percent of the student population – or a Bureau of Indian Education. Teachers from federally-recognized tribes would be eligible for Walsh’s loan forgiveness initiative.

“I applaud Senator Walsh’s efforts to increase the number of American Indians who are trained as teachers,” said Denise Juneau, Superintendent, Montana Office of Public Instruction.  “My parents were both educators, and their lifelong dedication to education inspired me to become an educator and to work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality public education. If we are going to make a positive change in some of our most struggling schools, we need to seek out strategies that have the power to change the lives of both individuals and communities.”

In the months since taking office, Walsh has visited each Indian nation in Montana, holding roundtable discussions and community meetings.  Walsh developed the American Indian Teacher Loan Forgiveness Act after hearing concerns about the need for more American Indian teachers.