California to Spend up to $900,000 on Teacher Recruitment Campaign Amid Shortage

California to Spend up to $900,000 on Teacher Recruitment Campaign Amid Shortage

Children are seen in a school in Pacoima, Calif., on Feb. 8, 2019. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

10/11/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

A California bill that will have the state create a public relations campaign to promote teaching careers has been signed into law.
Assembly Bill 934, introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, (D-Torrance), requires the state’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing to spend up to $900,000 to contract with a public relations organization to develop a campaign that highlights the value of teachers and urges people to seek a career in K-12 education.
The campaign will also feature information about the different pathways one can take to earn a teaching credential.
The bill unanimously passed both the Assembly in May and the Senate in September. It was sent on Sept. 21 to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who announced his signature Oct. 10.
The governor’s proposed 2022-23 budget included a similar proposal to give $900,000 in one-time funds to the commission to promote a career in education, but it was not ultimately funded.
The new law comes amid a statewide shortage of both teachers and school staff—exacerbated by college students’ lack of interest in pursuing a career in teaching, according to Mr. Muratsuchi.
“[This bill] will support the state’s numerous efforts to recruit and retain high quality teachers, by building public awareness about the exciting and meaningful career of teaching,” Mr. Muratsuchi said in a statement in an April Assembly Education Committee analysis. “This public relations campaign will further raise awareness about careers in teaching and the financial supports available to prospective teachers, thereby increasing the supply of teachers in the coming years.”
The assemblyman also said most school districts have found teachers to be in short supply, especially for math, science, special education, and bilingual education.
He added that many districts are filling positions with teachers on substandard credentials and permits, “reflecting a statewide trend of increasing reliance on underprepared teachers.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher retirements in the state increased by 26 percent in 2020, according to data from the California State Retirement System.
Scrambling, California districts began hiring teachers with substandard teaching credentials or permits—which, according to a 2022 study by the Economic Policy Institute, is “one of the best indicators of a shortage.”
In California, individuals may teach in public school classrooms if they have completed some teaching credential or permit training and are currently enrolled in the program and on track to completion.
However, “districts are only supposed to be authorized to hire these underprepared teachers when a suitable, fully credentialed teacher is not available,” the study said.
The bill was supported by two teachers’ unions: the California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association. It had no recorded opposition as of Sept. 8.
In a statement of support, the California Teachers’ Association called teaching a “form of professional artistry.”
“The teaching profession involves complex professional expertise which needs to be better understood and more clearly presented to the public,” the union wrote. “Teaching is a form of professional artistry. [This bill] will support the state’s numerous efforts to recruit and retain high quality teachers, by building public awareness about the exciting and meaningful career of teaching. The campaign will focus on recognizing the value of the contributions made by public school teachers and encourage individuals to enter the teaching profession.”
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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