Math and Science Teacher Initiative
California is projected to need upwards of 33,000 new mathematics and science teachers in the next ten years. The demand for credentialed teachers in these fields is significantly higher than the supply of fully qualified candidates. As a consequence, large numbers of students in California are taught math and science by teachers who are not credentialed in those fields. Access to qualified math and science teachers is associated with improved achievement, and ensuring that all students have fully credentialed teachers is critical to closing the achievement gap in these critical subjects.
The California State University (CSU), the state’s largest producer of math and science teachers, responded to this challenge with a commitment to double its annual production of credentialed teachers in math and science. CSU committed to increasing the number of qualified teachers in these fields from a baseline of 750 to approximately 1,500 annually. It has achieved this significant goal, now preparing more than 1,500 STEM teachers annually. It is especially noteworthy that a rigorous value-added study demonstrates that urban secondary students who are taught mathematics by new teachers who received their credential from a CSU campus learn significantly more math than comparable students taught by math teachers who were not prepared by CSU.
The Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) includes a systemwide plan of action that consists of six primary strategies:
- The creation of new credential pathways
- Provision of financial support to students
- Recruitment with intent to expand the number and diversity of candidates
- Collaboration between CSU campuses and their local community colleges
- Internet-supported delivery of instruction and resources
- Partnerships with corporate sponsors and federal laboratories
The Governor and the Legislature have given consistent support to CSU’s efforts. Beginning a decade ago, a special budget allocation was provided, which is $2.713 million each year. Using these resources in strategically planned efforts, CSU campuses have been highly effective in increasing production of excellent math and science teachers.
CSU campuses have also been successful in acquiring federal grants to supplement the Initiative. For example, 22 campuses have now received National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship grants, and total federal support from NSF and the U.S. Department of Education has been over $66 million. Noyce Scholarships and Fellowships now provide approximately 200 math and science majors preparing for teaching careers through CSU credential programs with $10,000 annually.
The recruitment of outstanding candidates into MSTI is a central focus of the CSU initiative. Ensuring the quality of preparation and advancing successful approaches for retaining new math and science teachers are other key objectives.
The Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the 100kin10 national partnership aimed at preparing 100,000 excellent new STEM teachers, and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) have all recognized the CSU’s efforts as among the most significant and comprehensive in the nation.