State Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) has introduced a bill to help meet California’s teacher shortage by allowing community college districts to offer teacher credentialing programs.
“As a grandfather, I truly believe that educating future generations is our most important duty,” said Senator Dodd.
“We need to do a better job attracting and retaining high quality teachers. Our community colleges are outstanding resources that can help meet the growing need for teacher training and credentialing, especially in underserved rural and urban communities”
According to a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute, 75 percent of school districts report teacher shortages. They also report that new teaching credentials in California have remained flat at approximately 11,500 annually since 2013-14, while projections show the need for new teachers is over 20,000 per year.
Despite the state’s serious need for teachers, 20 of the 58 counties in California have no approved institutions with an active teacher credentialing program.
The law would allow community colleges in rural counties to credential teachers.
“Prospective teachers in rural areas are often unable to travel or relocate to the universities that deliver California’s teacher credentialing programs. Senator Dodd’s proposal reduces a critical barrier to preparing teachers for our rural schools and rural communities,” said Dr. Douglas B. Houston, Chancellor of Yuba Community College District.
Under current law, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing may authorize a CSU, UC, private college or a local education agency to offer a program to credential teachers.
However, community colleges currently do not credential teachers on their own. The California Community College system is the nation’s largest higher education provider, serving 2.1 million students across 113 colleges. In recent years, California has sought to utilize community colleges to better meet skilled workforce needs, even authorizing community colleges to grant Bachelor’s degrees in 2014.
The measure, Senate Bill 577, has already garnered support from several community college districts across the state, and is expected to be heard in the Senate Education Committee next month.