Breakthrough Collaborative took to Capitol Hill on September 21 to discuss the teacher workforce shortage and share our solution to increase diversity and strengthen the educator pipeline. The goal of our first-ever Hill Day was to get the word out about Breakthrough among lawmakers and legislators and begin to build key relationships on Capitol Hill.
Our 10-person delegation met with staff from six offices over the course of the day, each selected based on their influence and credibility on education issues, as well as Breakthrough’s presence in their district and/or state: Senator Cassidy (LA), Senator Warnock (GA), Senator Booker (NJ), Senator Schatz (HI), Representative Bowman (NY-16th), Representative Williams (GA-5th), and Representative Fernandez (NM-3rd).
“This was a significant milestone for Breakthrough Collaborative, and I’m so grateful for the time each office gave us,” said Vince Margina, National CEO. “The work we are doing across the country to propel the next generation of educators and education advocates is worth sharing and supporting. We were very proud to represent Breakthrough on the Hill.”
The Breakthrough delegation included National leadership and staff, Vince Marigna, CEO, Ambler Mauger Ochstein, National Director of Institutional Partnerships, Jee Deogracias, Senior Direction of Research & Evaluation, and Rachel Martinez de Canada, Chief Culture & Operating Officer; National Board member, JuliAnne McDowell; Affiliate leader, Monique Shields, CEO, Breakthrough Atlanta; Breakthrough Atlanta Teaching Fellow Alumni, Nia Assata Muhammad and Gia Rhone, both undergraduate students at Howard University; and Ally Talcott, Founding Partner, Allied for Progress Consulting, who supported with the planning and execution of our Hill Day.
“I took part in Hill Day to have a better understanding of how to advocate for teachers and students of color,” said Nia Muhammad, Breakthrough Atlanta student and Teaching Fellow alum. “I come from a background of educators, so it is important for me to be present and speak upon the need for diversity and inclusion within the teacher pipeline.”
Research tells us that diverse young people are interested in teaching, but are not being cultivated. Breakthrough’s Teaching Fellowship is increasing that interest and expanding access to the teaching profession. Addressing the pipeline crisis will require continued robust investment from Congress.
Offices confirmed that the educator shortage is an urgent issue and they are looking for solutions to address the teacher pipeline crisis. Working together, the nonprofit sector and the federal government can make great strides to develop and support the next generation of educators, increasing equitable educational outcomes for students.