The Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District (NCLUSD) has been fortunate the past two years in hiring and retaining highly-qualified teachers. The few teachers that we have lost to other districts were due to location of their residence. We do best in retention when staff lives here in Newman or at least on the West Side.

The prospect for hiring teachers in the future is gloomy. In California the need for teachers in 2014-15 was 22,000, yet colleges were only producing 15,000 teachers. In the last 10 years there has been a 75 percent decline in enrollment in teacher credentialing programs. Last year 30 percent of the credentials issued were to people who did not participate in a traditional credential program and entered as interns. There is currently no governor’s proposal to address the teacher shortage, but the issue has garnered significant attention in the Legislature.  Several bills have been introduced that would require a one-time appropriation of funds for this purpose.

Legislators  have introduced bills on a spectrum of potential solutions including beginning teacher training, an assumption of loans program and a range of other teacher recruitment and retention proposals. Additionally, a number of spot bills have been introduced in both houses and by legislators of both parties, signifying widespread legislative interest in addressing the issue.  Our legislators need your input and support to ensure we have highly qualified teachers in the future.

The following bills are among the substantive proposals so far: 

SB 62 (Pavley) – Brings back the Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) in exchange for at least four years teaching at certain high needs schools

SB 915 (Liu) – Re-establishes the California Center on Teaching Careers (CalTeach) to, among other things, develop public relations campaign for teacher recruitment, conduct outreach activities, and create a referral database for public school teachers

SB 933 (Allen) – Establishes a California Teacher Corps teacher residency program, which provides grants for training and mentoring during participation in a teacher credentialing program

AB 2122 (McCarty)  – Establishes a program to recruit classified school employees to enroll in teacher training programs

AB 2248 (Holden)  – Requires the CTC to issue five-year preliminary credentials within 30 days of receiving all necessary documentation to teachers who were prepared out of state 

AB 2336 (Olsen)  – Extends emergency substitute permits for general education for up to 60 days, and for special education up to 40 days

AB 2815 (O’Donnell)  – Requires alternative teacher programs to address the special education teacher shortage

Hiring excellent teachers and instructional leaders is the most important part of my job, leading to improved student achievement. We all need to be aware of upcoming legislation that positively impacts the future of our schools. As always students, parents, educators and community working together for a better tomorrow!

Randy Fillpot is superintendent of the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District.