State Legislation: AB 169 (O'Donnell) Golden State Teacher Grant Program

We recommend a support position on AB 169 because it will help alleviate the teacher shortage California faces, especially in subjects critical to a competitive workforce - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The measure provides a $20,000 grant to enrollees in educator preparation programs. The student must commit to teach for 4 years in a high need teacher subject area after the student receives their teaching credential.

AB 169

Teacher shortage is severe

School districts across the State of 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. It is estimated teacher hires for the 2015-16 school year increased by 25 percent from the previous year, while credentials issued to fully prepared new teachers increased by less than 1 percent from the previous year, and enrollment in teacher education programs increased by only about 2 Percent.

Details of the bill

This bill establishes the High Need Teacher Grant Program. Under this program, the California Department of Education will award one-time grant funds of $20,000 to students in educator preparation programs with their commitment to teach in a subject area impacted by the teacher shortage. The student must commit to teach for 4 years in the high need teacher subject area after the student receives their teaching credential. Students must also commit to teach in one of the following subject areas: Bilingual education, Math, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Science or Special Education.

AB 169 is supported by research and past precedent

Research from the Learning Policy Institute of California (LPIC) recommends financial incentives such as grants or loans as an effective strategy for reducing the shortage. The number of grants that would be awarded is dependent on finding room in the budget. LPIC research estimates that $20 MM in scholarships or loan forgiveness could add up to 1000 teachers. During the last teacher shortage in the early 2000's, the Governor's Teaching Fellowship awarded scholarships of $20,000 to students in educator preparation programs who committed to teach for four years in low-performing schools. Similarly, the Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) provided loan forgiveness to teachers who committed to teach for four years in low-performing schools.

SVO POSITION: Support

STATUS: Appropriations

Questions? Contact Kelly Peaton, Director of Education and Workforce Development, kellyp@thesvo.com