On Tuesday, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, whose district includes most of Long Beach, introduced AB 169 and AB 170. Both address California’s growing need for qualified teachers, according to a release from his office.
The High Need Teacher Grant Program, or AB 169, awards one-time grants of $20,000 to students in educator preparation programs if they commit to teach in a subject area especially impacted by the shortage, such as math, science, bilingual or special education.
AB 170 repeals the state law that prohibits college students from majoring in education. If enacted, prospective teachers would be allowed to further immerse themselves in the field and the art of good teaching; students would be able to earn a degree in education and a teaching credential within four years, according to the release.
“Well-trained teachers are essential to the fabric and success of our society,” said O’Donnell, a teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, in a statement. “These bills will help attract and retain educators who empower students to pursue careers that move California forward.”
School districts across the state are experiencing a serious shortage of qualified teachers and an increased demand for K-12 teachers, according to O’Donnell. On top of that, California’s supply of new teachers is at a 12-year low, with enrollment in educator preparation programs having dropped by over 70 percent over the last 10 years.
“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,” stated the release.
The bills now await referral to their first policy committee.