Teacher prep enrollment jumps; new credentials doesn’t

Teacher prep enrollment jumps; new credentials doesn’t

(Calif.) Enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California jumped 10 percent in 2013-14 although the number of new credentials issued last year barely increased, according to a new report to the Legislature.

While the numbers are an improvement from steep drop in both categories during the recession, the upswing remains far below what is needed to close the teacher shortage plaguing many school districts.

There were 15,457 new teacher credentials issued in California in 2014-15 representing a 1.6 percent increase from the year before and the continuation of a three-year upward trend.

Still, the total falls short of the 16,450 new credentials issued in 2011-12 –the recent high—and far below the 25,000 figure that the state had typically issued prior to the recession, according to the new report from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

There are signs that the teaching profession may be rebounding, however, as enrollment in preparation programs increased by almost 1,900 students in 2014-15 to 20,881.

Participation in education training fell by almost 40 percent in the past five years, dipping to less than 19,000 in 2013-14. In 2005-15 there were nearly 60,000 students in teacher preparation programs run by colleges, school districts and county offices of education.

According to a report issued by the Learning Institute in February, as many as 75 percent of school districts in California report having some level of shortage in classroom teachers and have resorted to hiring instructors that are not yet fully credentialed or have substandard permits.

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown included in the state budget a package of about $10 million in tuition support and other incentives in an effort to attract more young people into the teaching profession.  So far this year, however, Brown hasn’t proposed any new spending for the same purpose, but lawmakers have.

Perhaps most prominent is SB 807, which would exclude certified classroom instructors from paying state income taxes after five years of service. The proposal—which has four co-sponsors: Henry Stern, D-Agura Hills, and Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, in the state Senate; and Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara, and Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, in the Assembly—would cost about $600 million a year and sunset after ten years

SB 577 by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Davis, would authorize the California State University and the University of California, to set up a teacher credentialing program that could be offered by a community college.

AB 1217 by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-San Fernando, would provide grants to local educational agencies to support teacher residency programs where new teachers would be assigned a mentor that would oversee classroom training.

SB 436 by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, would establish a new program to help recruit, train and retain science, technology and math teachers.

SB 533 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada-Flintridge, would authorize the governor to declare an “urgent state of need” that would allow schools to hire new teachers that didn’t have valid credentials.