Math and Science Teacher Initiative


Component #1. Comprehensive Recruitment Aimed at Expanding and Diversifying the Pool of Candidates

Objective: Significantly expand recruitment of new mathematics and science teacher candidates.

Programs: Comprehensive, innovative marketing and recruitment initiatives in diverse venues.

The first component of CSU's action plan is directed toward the substantial expansion and diversification of qualified math and science teacher candidates. This broadly based recruitment effort is targeted to college students and recent graduates, community college and high school students, mid-career and pre-retirement professionals, military retirees, and teachers with the potential to change fields. It involves the use of a wide range of print and electronic tools, including the World Wide Web, DVD, radio, and cable television to accomplish comprehensive and innovative marketing and recruitment in diverse venues.

Component #2. Creation of New Credential Pathways

Objective: Establish multiple new pathways to mathematics and science teaching credentials.

Programs: A broad range of new programs beginning at the freshman level and continuing through fast-track post-baccalaureate options.

A central part of the CSU strategy to expand math and science teacher production is the creation of new credential pathways. The intent is to provide multiple points of entry into these fields for individuals at different educational and career stages. New pathways include, for example, blended programs for undergraduates in which an academic major and teacher preparation are integrated in an articulated program of study. These programs are particularly promising because teacher preparation can begin well before California's traditional post-baccalaureate program, and college students can typically complete these programs in little more than four years.

Several campuses have already estalished new pathways that will enable professionals in math- and science-based fields to transition to careers in math and science teaching-including efficient, fast-track paths to the state's recently established specialized science credentials. Using these new pathways, credential candidates and current teachers in different fields can obtain an added teaching authorization in math or science.

Component #3. Internet-Supported Delivery of Instruction

Objective: Create a systemwide Internet-supported math and science credential option.

Program: A new online-delivered teacher preparation program led by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Flexible preparation options are needed to accommodate the needs of diversified pools of candidatesThis opportunity for anytime, anyplace instruction is particularly advantageous for candidates who are career changers and are currently employed full-time. Building on the infrastructure created for CalStateTEACH (the CSU statewide site-based credentialing program), CSU's initiative includes development of Internet-supported instruction that can be available to candidates and programs statewide. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is leading the development of this program option.

Component #4. Collaboration With Community Colleges

Objective: Implement integrated 2-year/4-year math and science credential preparation programs with California's community colleges.

Programs: Partnerships with community colleges that align lower division and upper division math and science teacher preparation and institutionalize early recruitment and academic advising in these fields.

California's Community Colleges represent one of the largest potential recruitment pools of future math and science teachers in the state. A central component of campus plans is to collaborate with community colleges in integrated 2-year to 4-year programs that provide a seamless lower division transfer pattern for future math and science teachers, consistent with the systemís strategic plan, Access to Excellence. CSU campuses are working with their regional feeder community colleges in such articulated programs, and the CSU and California Community College Chancellors have committed to the development of coordinated system-level strategies to support these partnerships.

Component #5. Financial Support and Incentives

Objective: Provide financial support for new math and science teachers through the full range of available mechanisms.

Programs: Scholarships, loan assumption programs, paid tutoring, service learning, school district internships.

A component essential to the success of the CSU recruitment strategy is having sufficient support for candidates through the scholarship and loan assumption/cancellation programs, paid tutoring, and internship opportunities in order to make teacher preparation financially attainable and attractive for college students of all backgrounds. This is particularly important because students from underrepresented groups, who are often particularly in need of financial assistance, will increasingly be a substantial part of the math and science teacher work force. Expanding their numbers within the profession is a central component of CSU's strategy.

In collaboration with the California Student Aid Commission, the CSU has undertaken a major effort to foster maximum utilization of California's Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE). The CSU Teacher Recruitment Projects, for which $75,000 of lottery funds are allocated on each campus, will undertake focused efforts to identify all math and science teacher candidates who are eligible for APLE awards and assist them in applying for them.

Paid tutoring is another important vehicle providing financial support and additional recruitment benefits. Research shows that the desire to assist others is a primary factor in the decision to enter into math and science teaching careers. The ability to attract credential candidates by providing opportunities to assist others can enhance the quality of new teacher preparation significantly. On many CSU campuses, service learning is being integrated with math and science teacher recruitment as a precursor to paid tutoring. Articulation between community service learning opportunities and math and science teacher preparation is a priority of the CSU system.

An additional approach for providing financial support to candidates is through paid internships in lieu of student teaching. These internships are typically followed by full-time teaching positions in the school district that sponsors them. Numerous CSU campuses have arrangements with surrounding school districts that provide paid internships for math and science candidates, and campus plans include substantial expansion of these internship programs.

Component #6. Supporting and Evaluating Promising Approaches Having Scale-Up Potential

Objective: Identify cost-effective recruitment and preparation approaches.

Programs: Research and evaluation activities that draw upon the expertise of CSU faculty.

The CSU strategy is a carefully planned effort aimed at supporting, refining, and scaling up especially promising and cost-effective approaches for preparing highly qualified math and science teachers. Priority is placed on identifying, supporting, and evaluating strategies for increasing credential production that have clear potential for replication at multiple campuses during the next three to five years.

An example is seen in the development of programs that prepare candidates for the new Foundational Level Math (FLM) credential. This credential is designed particularly for middle school math instruction, a field in which a very large shortage of qualified teachers exists in California and nationally. There is a need for the FLM credential in most, if not all, CSU regional areas, and funds allocated to CSU in the 2005-06 Governor's Budget are being used in part to implement and evaluate a range of promising designs for the new credential.

Several CSU campuses have Math and Science Education Centers and Math and Science Projects (see attachment) that engage in significant program-related studies supported by sources such as National Science Foundation grants. CSU's annual evaluation of its teacher preparation programs is widely recognized as the most significant undertaking of its kind nationwide. In addition, some of the Ed.D. programs currently in operation and being further developed will include attention to leadership for excellence in math and science education.

Component #7. Partnerships with Business, Industry, and Federal Laboratories

Objective: Institutionalize partnerships that enhance the attractiveness of teaching careers in math and science

Programs: Partnerships with business, industry, and federal laboratories enriching math and science teachers' career opportunities

Partnerships with business and industry are central to CSU's overall strategy and integral to each of the other components. Long-term success in increasing production and retention of math and science teachers requires that the CSU seek the help of corporate leaders and establish partnerships with federal laboratories to bring about fundamental changes in the value accorded math and science teaching careers and in the nature of these careers.

Business and industry can play particularly valuable roles in fostering teacher quality and retention, specifically in the understaffed fields of math and science.Support of professional development for K-12 teachers, scholarships for National Board Certification, and paid industry and federal lab employment during the summer are examples of particularly significant contributions of CSU partners to teacher professionalism. Creating (a) opportunities for summer participation by teachers in projects of significant scientific and technological research and (b) second career options in teaching for employees leaving math and science based industries are uniquely important approaches to the challenge that CSU is addressing.

Additional partnerships have been established between CSU and U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories in California, NASA Ames Research Center, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). These partnerships enable future math and science teachers to engage in active exploration of the frontiers of science and to participate directly in examining the most current of 21st century scientific questions. This type of experience reflects the commitment to enhancing opportunities for active learning that is central within Access to Excellence, the CSU strategic plan, and motivates participants to continue in the teaching profession.


The California State University has launched a multi-faceted and carefully structured strategy, designed to work with partners from across the sectors in building on the most promising and proactive approaches for doubling the production of math and science teachers. With sustained public and private partnerships, CSU can play a central role in addressing the critical math and science teacher shortage and ensure that students have the opportunities they need to succeed as part of the 21st century workforce.