Emerging Technology
day one project

Establish a Teacher AI Literacy Development Program

06.24.24 | 5 min read | Text by Amanda Bickerstaff & Amanda DePriest & Corey Layne Crouch

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology necessitates a transformation in our educational systems to equip the future workforce with necessary AI skills, starting with our K-12 ecosystem. Congress should establish a dedicated program within the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide ongoing AI literacy training specifically for K-12 teachers and pre-service teachers. The proposed program would ensure that all teachers have the necessary knowledge and skills to integrate AI into their teaching practices effectively.

Challenge and Opportunity

Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) has emerged as a profoundly disruptive force reshaping the landscape of nearly every industry. This seismic shift demands a corresponding transformation in our educational systems to prepare the next generation effectively. Central to this transformation is building a robust GenAI literacy among students, which begins with equipping our educators. Currently, the integration of GenAI technologies in classrooms is outpacing the preparedness of our teachers, with less than 20% feeling adequately equipped to utilize AI tools such as ChatGPT. Moreover, only 29% have received professional development in relevant technologies, and only 14 states offer any guidance on GenAI implementation in educational settings at the time of this writing.

The urgency for federal intervention cannot be overstated. Without it, there is a significant risk of exacerbating educational and technological disparities among students, which could hinder their readiness for future job markets dominated by AI. It is of particular importance that AI literacy training is deployed equitably to counter the disproportionate impact of AI and automation on women and people of color. McKinsey Global Institute reported in 2023 that women are 1.5 times more likely than men to experience job displacement by 2030 as a result of AI and automation. A previous study by McKinsey found that Black and Hispanic/Latino workers are at higher risk of occupational displacement than any other racial demographic. This proposal seeks to address the critical deficit in AI literacy among teachers, which, if unaddressed, will leave our students ill-prepared for an AI-driven world.

The opportunity before us is to establish a government program that will empower teachers to stay relevant and adaptable in an evolving educational landscape. This will not only enhance their professional development but also ensure they can provide high-quality education to their students. Teachers equipped with AI literacy skills will be better prepared to educate students on the importance and applications of AI. This will help students develop critical skills needed for future careers, fostering a workforce that is ready to meet the demands of an AI-driven economy. 

Plan of Action

To establish the NSF Teacher AI Literacy Development Program, Congress should first pass a defining piece of legislation that will outline the program’s purpose, delineate its extent, and allocate necessary funding. 

An initial funding allocation, as specified by the authorizing legislation, will be directed toward establishing the program’s operations. This funding will cover essential aspects such as staffing, the initial setup of the professional development resource hub, and the development of incentive programs for states. 

Key responsibilities of the program include:

Develop comprehensive AI literacy standards for K-12 teachers through a collaborative process involving educational experts, AI specialists, and teachers. These standards could be developed directly by the federal government as a model for states to consider adopting or compiled from existing resources set by reputable organizations, such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) or UNESCO

Compile a centralized digital repository of AI literacy resources, including training materials, instructional guides, best practices, and case studies. These resources will be curated from leading educational institutions, AI research organizations, and technology companies. The program would establish partnerships with universities, education technology companies, and nonprofits to continuously update and expand the resource hub with the latest tools and research findings.

Design a comprehensive grant program to support the development and implementation of AI literacy programs for both in-service and pre-service teachers. The program would outline the criteria for eligibility, application processes, and evaluation metrics to ensure that funds are distributed effectively and equitably. It would also provide funding to educational institutions to build their capacity for delivering high-quality AI literacy programs. This includes supporting the development of infrastructure, acquiring necessary technology, and hiring or training faculty with expertise in AI.

Conduct regular, comprehensive assessments to gauge the current state of AI literacy among educators. These assessments would include surveys, interviews, and observational studies to gather qualitative and quantitative data on teachers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence in using AI in their classrooms across diverse educational settings. This data would then be used to address specific gaps and areas of need.

Conduct nationwide campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of AI literacy in education, prioritizing outreach efforts in underserved and rural areas to ensure that these communities receive the necessary information and resources. This can include localized campaigns, community meetings, and partnerships with local organizations.

Prepare and present annual reports to Congress and the public detailing the program’s achievements, challenges, and future plans. This ensures transparency and accountability in the program’s implementation and progress.

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of AI literacy programs and assess their impact on teaching practices and student outcomes. Use this data to inform policy decisions and program improvements.

Proposed Timeline

Year 1: Formation and Setup
Quarter 1Congress passes legislation to establish the program.
Allocate initial funding to support the establishment and initial operations of the program.
Quarter 2Formally establish the program’s administrative office and hire key staff.
Develop and launch the program’s official website for public communication and resource dissemination.
Quarter 3Initiate a national needs assessment to determine the current state of AI literacy among educators.
Develop AI literacy standards for K-12 teachers.
Quarter 4Establish AI literacy resource centers within community college and vocational school Centers of AI Excellence.
Distribute resources and funding to selected pilot school districts and teacher training institutions.
Year 2: Implementation and Expansion
Quarter 1Evaluate pilot programs and integrate initial feedback to refine training materials and strategies.
Expand resource distribution based on feedback from pilot programs.
Quarter 2Launch strategic partnerships with leading technology firms, academic institutions, and educational nonprofits to enhance resource hubs and professional development opportunities.
Initiate public awareness campaigns to emphasize the importance of AI literacy in education.
Quarter 3Offer incentives for states to develop and implement AI literacy training programs for teachers.
Continue to develop and refine AI literacy standards based on ongoing feedback and advancements in AI technology.
Quarter 4Review year-end progress and adjust strategies based on comprehensive evaluations.
Prepare the first annual report to Congress and the public outlining achievements, challenges, and future plans.
Year 3 and Beyond: Maturation and Nationwide Implementation
Scale up successful initiatives to a national level based on proven effectiveness and feedback.
Continuously update the Professional Development Resource Hub with the latest AI educational tools and best practices.
Regularly update AI literacy standards to reflect technological advancements and educational needs.
Sustain focus on incentivizing states and expanding reach to underserved regions to ensure equitable AI education across all demographics.


This proposal expands upon Section D of the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, emphasizing the importance of building AI literacy to foster a deeper understanding before providing tools and resources. Additionally, this policy has been developed with reference to the Office of Educational Technology’s report on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning, as well as the 2024 National Education Technology Plan. These references underscore the critical need for comprehensive AI education and align with national strategies for integrating advanced technologies in education. 

We stand at a pivotal moment where our actions today will determine our students’ readiness for the world of tomorrow. Therefore, it is imperative for Congress to act swiftly to pass the necessary legislation to establish the NSF Teacher AI Literacy Development Program. Doing so will not only secure America’s technological leadership but also ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed in the new digital age.

This idea is part of our AI Legislation Policy Sprint. To see all of the policy ideas spanning innovation, education, healthcare, and trust, safety, and privacy, head to our sprint landing page.

Frequently Asked Questions
How can we ensure that the AI literacy training is not biased or does not promote certain agendas, especially given the potential influence of technology companies involved in developing resources?

The program emphasizes developing AI literacy standards through a collaborative process involving educational experts, AI specialists, and teachers themselves. By including diverse perspectives and stakeholders, the goal is to create comprehensive and balanced training materials. Additionally, resources will be curated from a wide range of leading institutions, organizations, and companies to prevent any single entity from exerting undue influence. Regular evaluations and feedback loops will also help identify and address any potential biases.

How will this program address the digital divide and ensure equitable access to AI literacy training for teachers in underfunded schools and rural areas? Many districts may lack the necessary infrastructure and resources.

Ensuring equitable access to AI literacy training is a key priority of this program. The nationwide awareness campaigns will prioritize outreach efforts in underserved and rural areas. Additionally, the program will offer incentives and targeted funding for states to develop and implement AI literacy training programs, with a focus on supporting schools and districts with limited resources.

Given the rapid pace of AI advancements, how frequently will the training materials and resources need to be updated, and what is the long-term cost projection for keeping the program relevant?

The program acknowledges the need for continuous updating of AI literacy standards, training materials, and resources to reflect the latest advancements in AI technology. The proposal outlines plans for regular updates to the Professional Development Resource Hub, as well as periodic revisions to the AI literacy standards themselves. While specific timelines and cost projections are not provided, the program is designed with a long-term view, including strategic partnerships with leading institutions and technology firms to stay current with developments in the field. Annual reports to Congress will help assess the program’s effectiveness and inform decisions about future funding and resource allocation.

What metrics will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the AI literacy training programs, and how will student outcomes be measured to justify the investment in this initiative?

The program emphasizes the importance of regular, comprehensive assessments to gauge the current state of AI literacy among educators. These assessments will include surveys, interviews, and observational studies to gather both qualitative and quantitative data on teachers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence in using AI in their classrooms across diverse educational settings. Additionally, the program aims to evaluate the effectiveness of AI literacy programs and assess their impact on teaching practices and student outcomes, though specific metrics are not outlined. The data gathered through these evaluations will be used to inform policy decisions, program improvements, and to justify continued investment in the initiative.