Assemblymember McCarty Introduces Legislation to Expand Pool of Qualified Teachers

For immediate release:

Bills seeks to address teacher shortage

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2122, which would expand the pool of qualified teachers by establishing the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.

"With many of California’s teachers nearing retirement age, our state is in the midst of a quiet crisis to find qualified teachers in the class room," said Assemblymember McCarty. "This measure will help improve and diversify California’s teacher pipeline by providing an opportunity for classified school employees to become teachers at the districts they serve."

"California's looming teacher shortage is a problem that will not be solved overnight. But one important resource, too often overlooked, is already in the classroom: paraprofessionals, who work with students every day and are already dedicated to the students and communities in which they serve,” said Joshua Pechthalt, President of CFT. “Their experience and dedication can be translated effectively into teaching expertise through the development of a career ladder program such as this."

“Paraprofessionals are dedicated, committed to and reflective of the community in which they work, and know the students’ languages and cultures. Paraprofessionals provide an invaluable pool of experienced professionals from which to recruit dedicated, ethnically diverse members of the education community into the teaching profession,” said President Michael Bilbrey, California School Employees Association. “Individuals that participated in this program in the past experienced a 95 percent retention rate. Given the concern regarding the potential teacher shortage, recruiting paraprofessionals to become teachers makes sense.”

California has a growing teacher shortage, at a time when demand for qualified teachers is increasing. Supply for teachers is at a 12-year low and enrollment in teacher preparation programs has dropped more than 70 percent in the last decade. In fact, California has the highest student to teacher ratio of 24 to 1, compared to the national average of 16 to 1. The shortage of teachers ranges from all subject areas, specifically in math, science, and special education.

AB 2122 would establish the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program. This program, upon appropriation in the budget, would recruit classified school employees and financially assist them in obtaining a bachelor’s degree and teacher credential. Once completed, the candidate would commit to serving at their local education agency. This measure will be eligible for hearings in spring.

CONTACT: Bryan C. Singh, (916) 319-2007