Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Perry Announces Additional $3 Million For Teacher Mentoring Program

Friday, April 05, 2002  •  Press Release

DALLAS - Governor Rick Perry today announced that the Texas Workforce Commission, working with the governor's office, has agreed to dedicate an additional $3 million to the Texas Beginning Educator Support System (TxBESS). TxBESS is an initiative of the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) that is designed to provide essential support for beginning teachers in their first and second years on the job.

"The Texas Beginning Educator Support System was established so teachers straight out of college were not just thrown into the classroom without the additional mentoring support they need," Perry said. "This program helps young teachers make a difference by raising their confidence and keeping them in the classroom."

Created in 1999, TxBESS is a three-year pilot project focused on developing a beginning teacher support system in Texas. The program, which is funded with a $10 million, three-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education, provides training and support to new teachers as they enter the teaching profession. In the last three years, approximately 5,000 beginning teachers have benefited from the program.

"With more funds for mentoring, we will help more young teachers reach their full potential," Perry added.

Perry's Education Initiative, which he began unveiling last month, has called for the expansion of mentoring programs for beginning teachers. To further support Texas teachers and build upon improvements within the state's public education system, the plan also calls for compensating excellence in the classroom, reimbursing teachers for classroom supplies purchased for students, and improving teacher recruitment and retention.

In addition, Perry has proposed increasing protection for teachers and administrators against frivolous lawsuits. Teacher associations in Texas report that teachers currently need anywhere from $6 million to $10 million in liability insurance to protect them from litigation.

"We know for many teachers that the greatest professional fear they have is the threat of being sued," Perry said. "The time has come for lawsuit reform so teachers are empowered to properly handle disruptive students, and spend more time accomplishing what they set out to do, which is to expand the potential of young minds.

As Governor and Lt. Governor, Perry has helped secure pay raises for Texas teachers and signed into law an historic statewide teacher health insurance program. In the last legislative session, Perry championed the Master Math Program aimed at improving math instruction for all students and providing support to teachers in that subject area. As Lt. Governor, Perry helped pass the Master Reading Teacher Program now in place statewide.

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