Well, maybe not so much of a “storm,” it was more of an invited visit. The March 30th California Education Deans Meeting – Legislative Roundtable and the Spring 2017 Conference of the California Council on Teacher Education (CCTE) were held this year in Sacramento and the conference was coined SPAN – Spring Policy Action Network. Sacramento was a new venue for both the CCTE and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) California Dean’s Meeting. Acting as one of the Interim Co-Directors for Graduate Education, I was part of a team who had the opportunity to speak with a legislative panel at the Capitol concerning the future of teacher education in California.
K-12 TEACHER SHORTAGE
According to the Learning Policy Institute’s recent report “Addressing California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage: An Analysis of Sources and Solutions” there were sharp declines in teacher education enrollments over the last decade and recent hiring increases left many districts scrambling to find teachers. As districts began to restore teaching positions eliminated during the Great Recession, credentials issued to new teachers were at a historic low. Fortunately, we have not seen this decline in credential candidates at Vanguard, however, we are still concerned with the impact this may produce on the Grad Ed Program.
PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS
If you are a parent or grandparent of a student in California’s schools, you might be interested in the proposed legislative solutions to this important issue. Some of our legislators have come up with relatively good ideas, whereas others have proposed legislation without really considering the impact on the quality of California’s future educators. For example, AB 169 (O’Donnell) would establish a program under the CA Department of Education that would provide a grant for students enrolled in approved teacher credentialing programs, like Vanguard’s, who commit to working in a “high-need field” for 4 years after he or she receives a teaching credential. This would greatly benefit our students’ financial obligations and place them in schools where they could make a positive impact on students’ lives.
Another bill that would benefit our students is AB 410 (Cervantes). This bill would prohibit school districts, county offices, and charter schools from charging beginning teachers a fee to participate in their induction programs that are required by CTC to “clear” their credential. Currently, our candidates investigate districts’ fees before even applying for positions, considering the cost to enter their required induction programs.
On the other hand, there is AB533 (Portantino), which would authorize the Governor to declare an “Urgent State of Need,” regarding the teacher shortage and would allow districts to employ persons without a valid credential, certificate, permit, or completion of any approved program to provide instruction to pupils. After 5 consecutive years, this person would receive a California teaching credential! Can you imagine the effects of his bill on California’s K-12 students? I’m sure there would be no thought of applying this same premise to the medical profession! Our students’ education is equally important.