U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has unveiled a proposal to address deficiencies in higher education opportunities for veterans and is promoting bills targeting rural teacher shortages in his remarks at Montana State University Billings on Monday.  Tester is the highest-ranking Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Senate’s only farmer, and a former school teacher himself.

 

The Rural Educator Support and Training Act and the Native Educator Support and Training Act were introduced by Tester in 2015.  Both acts provide targeted scholarships and loan forgiveness for teachers.  Montana has more remote schools, as classified by the federal government, than any other state.  Small schools have struggled to recruit and retain teachers for years, and reservation schools struggle more than most.  The financial incentives would have a disproportionate effect in Montana, where new teachers are paid worse than any other state.