(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the California State Assembly passed Assemblymember Robert Rivas’ (D-Hollister) AB 1623 – the Golden State Teacher Grant Program. This comes after $89 million was approved last week by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education for the program to increase the pipeline of fully credentialed teachers in subject shortage areas.
“When you look across the State, school districts are having an incredibly difficult time recruiting fully qualified, credentialed teachers, especially in subject shortage areas like special education, bilingual education and STEM. This bill will help bring highly qualified teachers into our classrooms to ensure that our children receive the best possible education,” said Rivas.
Currently, California’s pipeline of new teachers hovers near a 12-year low and the number of new credentials issued has dropped by close to 50% during the same period. Additionally, over the past five years, the number of waivers issued when employers cannot find a fully-qualified credentialed teacher has nearly doubled.
“I authored AB 1623 to help bring more teachers into our public school classrooms,” continued Rivas. “I’m proud to partner with Assemblymember O’Donnell, the chair of the Assembly Education committee, to increase the number of qualified teachers to ensure California’s students receive the best education possible. With these crucial steps, our state is closer to ensuring this occurs.”
AB 1623 creates the Golden State Teacher Grant Program to provide service scholarship grants of $20,000 through the California Student Aid Commission to teachers who pledge to teaching high need subject areas such as Bilingual Education, Special Education and STEM. Recipients who do not fulfill their commitment to teach for four years are required to repay the scholarship funds.
This proposal now advances to the Budget Conference Committee to iron out differences between the Assembly and Senate budget actions.