Troops to Teachers Program Will Resume

Troops to Teachers Program Will Resume

According to language included in the Defense Department's annual defense authorization bill passed by Congress in mid-December, the Troops to Teachers program will resume next year.

The 28-year-old program was shut down by defense officials earlier this fall as part of efforts to transition out of the military. Graduates of the program were scheduled to receive their final payouts in May.

Nevertheless, that decision drew opposition from veterans groups. These groups called the Troops to Teachers program an invaluable tool to benefit military members seeking jobs in education after they leave the military.

Initially administered by the Department of Education, this grant program provides $10,000 in financial support to veterans interested in teaching positions. Additionally, the program coordinates placements with school officials.

The program has helped about 23,000 participants since 1993. Approximately $15 million is spent on the program each year, and Pentagon officials have indicated they believe money could be spent more efficiently and effectively elsewhere in recent years.

Congress did not agree. According to the defense authorization bill, the department must continue the program until at least July 2025, three years longer than initially planned.

Military leaders must also provide a complete analysis of the program by the end of next December. This analysis must include the operating costs, the number of veterans helped by the assistance and the impact on schools that need more teachers.

Like the American Legion, other veterans groups are applauding the extension of the transition assistance program.

According to American Legion national commander Paul Dillard, educating young people is as honorable as serving in the military. "We believe it is a benefit not just to the veteran but to students in classrooms across the country who would be taught by men and women that are battle tested-leaders.”