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In the States: Proposed California Bills Will Pay Student Teachers, Recruit Educators

The “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

California is poised to potentially pass two new bills that would pay teacher candidates while they are student teaching and begin a public relations campaign to recruit new teachers into the profession.

Under current credentialing standards, California teachers are required to complete 600 hours of student teaching. Without pay, the student teaching experience, while vitally necessary for candidates, is considered a roadblock. Students are still required to pay for tuition, books, supplies, living expenses, and more, with limited time available to secure supplemental income.

Assembly Bill 238, would use one-time state funds to create a grant program for student teachers. Districts that win grants would pay student teachers at the same rate as their substitute teachers. A separate bill, Assembly Bill 934 would provide no more than  $900,000 to contract with a public relations organization to develop a campaign highlighting the value of educators and urge people to become teachers.

As previously reported by EdSource, other bills being considered by legislators to help address the teacher shortage include the following:

  • AB 672 would require the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to research the barriers that keep people of color from becoming teachers.
  • AB 1555 would delay the deadline for a credentialed transitional kindergarten teacher to complete the early childhood education units required for the position until August 2028.
  • SB 765 exempts retired teachers who are returning to the classroom to fill teaching positions that districts otherwise can’t fill from limiting their earnings post-retirement; increases the maximum stipend paid to teacher candidates in the Teacher Residency Grant Program to $40,000 per teacher candidate; and, annually exempts 1,000 Cal Grant recipients from demonstrating financial need if they agree to enroll in a teacher preparation program after earning their bachelor’s degree.
  • AB 383 would allow teacher candidates in the Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program to take a paid leave of absence from their district jobs to complete student teaching. The program helps school employees, such as office staff, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers to earn a degree and teaching credential.