Mathematics and Science Teachers, $2.0 Million
California’s industries depend upon a workforce that has a strong foundation in mathematics,
science, and technology. Creating that scientifically and technologically literate workforce begins
in the schools and depends on highly qualified math and science teachers. Unfortunately, California’s
schools are experiencing a severe shortage of qualified math and science teachers.
The U.S. Department of Education has determined that California’s plan to meet No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) requirements has a number of serious deficiencies including a shortage of qualified math and
science teachers and a disproportionately larger share of poor and minority children being taught by
unqualified teachers. If the problem is not solved, California and its school districts face fiscal
sanctions under NCLB including the loss of funds under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act. In addition, research demonstrates that students whose teachers are not qualified to
teach math and science have significantly lower achievement gains than comparable students whose
teachers are qualified in these fields. The lower achievement gains in science and math could also
adversely impact the ability of students to pass the California High School Exit Exam.
Over the next five years, California is projected to need in excess of 22,000 new math and science
teachers. Currently, the annual production of math and science teachers in the state averages around
2,000. In other words, over half of the new math and science teaching positions in the state will either
go unfilled or will have to be filled by teachers from out of state or teachers teaching outside their
major. Overall, at least 20 percent of math and science teachers and one-third of physical science
teachers are either assigned “out-of-field” or are not credentialed in the field they are teaching. A far
better alternative is to increase the production of math and science teachers.
The CSU is currently the largest producer of math and science teachers in the state. The CSU
produces approximately one-half of the teachers in these fields and is uniquely positioned to expand
the number of students studying to become math and science teachers. Two years ago, the CSU
received supplemental support budget funding to begin its highly successful Mathematics and
Science Teacher Initiative. After the first full year of state funding, the CSU has expanded its
production of credentialed math and science teachers from 768 to 1,011 teachers credentialed
annually, an increase of 32 percent.
This supplemental funding request of $2 million will allow the CSU to expand the initiatives of the
23 CSU campuses designed to double math and science teacher production and establish three
CSU Regional Mathematics and Science Teacher Recruitment Centers. These centers will play an
essential role in increasing recruitment into math and science credential programs among a range
of target populations.
The CSU’s 23 campuses have all developed plans for significantly increasing the preparation of
teachers in math and science. Campus action plans include four types of credential programs: (a)
blended programs for undergraduates; (b) technology-infused programs; (c) internship programs;
and (d) a range of different credential pathways for new credentials (e.g., Foundational Level Math,
Specialized Math and Science) and nontraditional populations (e.g., career changers, second-field
teachers). Campuses have all initiated projects aimed at doubling credential production.
The CSU Regional Mathematics and Science Teacher Recruitment Centers will have four programs
to significantly expand recruitment from high schools and community colleges and from among
“career-changers” and other nontraditional populations into the CSU’s math and science teacher
preparation programs. The four types of programs are: (a) teaching academies (middle schools and
high schools that encourage future math and science teaching and where candidates in credential
programs are placed for their student teaching); (b) community college bridges (coordinated
programs aligning community college and CSU programs); (c) summer teacher recruit programs
(summer programs aimed at increasing interest in math and science teaching among high school
and community college students); and (d) online learning programs (flexible options for students to
take coursework for a mathematics or science credential).
Sustained campus initiatives in combination with regional recruitment centers can have a major
impact on increasing credential recruitment and production and addressing NCLB mandates. North
Carolina and South Carolina have programs with features similar to those being proposed. Their
centers, coordinated with campus programs, have led to significant increases in teacher recruitment.
Increases in math and science teacher education enrollments and credential production will be
monitored on a term-by-term basis. Information will also be collected on placements of new math and
science teachers in high-poverty, high-minority districts, an area of particular concern under NCLB.
In addition, because a primary objective of the initiative is to scale up strategies that have been
successful, the effectiveness of particular approaches will be examined for potential replication.