Yesterday, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) introduced AB 169 and AB 170, both of which will help California address its growing need for qualified teachers.
AB 169 establishes the High Need Teacher Grant Program, which will award one-time grant funds of $20,000 to students in educator preparation programs if they commit to teach in a subject area especially impacted by the teacher shortage, such as math, science, bilingual, or special education.
AB 170 repeals an antiquated state law that prohibits college students from majoring in education. The move allows prospective teachers to further immerse themselves in the field of education and the art of good teaching. If enacted, students would be able to earn a degree in education and a teaching credential within 4 years.
“Well-trained teachers are essential to the fabric and success of our society,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell, a teacher and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “These bills will help attract and retain educators who empower students to pursue careers that move California forward.”
School districts across California are experiencing a serious shortage of qualified teachers. Increased demand for K–12 teachers in California comes at a time when the supply of new teachers is at a 12-year low. Enrollment in educator preparation programs has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade, and has fallen below the number of estimated hires by school districts around the state.
By utilizing a financial incentive to recruit teachers in areas experiencing the greatest need and allowing universities to establish a dedicated major in education, California will be in a better position to get teachers into the classroom and maintain the highest standards of the profession.
The bills now await referral to their first policy committee.