Classified school district employees can become classroom teachers under a new $20 million state program that seeks to convert 1,000 non-classroom school workers across California in response to the teacher shortage.
The California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program is designed for school employees who have completed at least two years of college and need help to finish their education, both undergraduate degrees and teaching credentials, according to a Sacramento Bee report.
The idea for the program was pushed by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and was ultimately approved as part of the state budget.
Twenty-five county offices of education and school districts will share in the grant program.
The grant is part of an effort to battle a teacher shortage that has developed since the recession due to a shrinking supply of teachers, teacher retirement, teachers moving to other jobs, increased student enrollment, and low salaries and high cost of living, according to the Learning Policy Institute.
Also included in the state budget is $10 million to aid universities in developing programs that will allow students to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential in four years, and $5 million to create the California Center on Teaching Careers to recruit teachers.
Sixty-one school districts sent letters to the state attesting to their need for teachers in hopes of funding the education of 5,582 classified workers. Districts were graded on their need, as well as the level of support they would be able to provide to teacher candidates during their training, according to the state. Grant recipients also must report on the academic progress of the school employees they recruit,
The grants will pay $4,000 annually per participant for up to five years to help them complete a bachelor’s degree and earn a teaching credential.