UW–Madison extends Teacher Pledge to address educator shortage

The University of Wisconsin–Madison plans to extend its Wisconsin Teacher Pledge for another academic year in an effort to combat ongoing teacher shortages across the state, according to a report from The Capital Times.

Bestselling author James Patterson and his wife Susan Patterson, a children’s book author and UW–Madison alum, are contributing $5 million to the program, which will now be able to continue through the 2026–27 academic year.

The program pays the equivalent of in-state tuition and fees, as well as testing and licensing costs, for all teacher education students who commit to working three or four years at Wisconsin schools.

The program is also designed to address high turnover rates for young teachers in the U.S — with many leaving the profession after only a year or two.

Since beginning in 2020, more than 550 students have taken advantage of the Teacher Pledge, with around 200 of the program’s graduates teaching in 65 state public school districts and about a dozen private schools.