Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative

California is projected to need more than 33,000 new mathematics and science teachers in the next 10 years.

The demand for credentialed teachers in these fields is significantly greater than the supply of fully qualified candidates. As a consequence, large numbers of students in California are taught mathematics and science by teachers who are not credentialed in those fields.

Access to qualified mathematics and science teachers is associated with improved achievement; 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 mathematics and science teachers, responded to this challenge with a commitment to increase its annual production of credentialed teachers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The CSU committed to increasing the number of qualified teachers in these fields from a baseline of 750 to approximately 1,000 (average annual production).

How the CSU's Mathematics and Science Teacher Graduates Excel

It's especially noteworthy that the mathematics and science teachers prepared by CSU campuses very often teach in the state's high-need schools and regions:

  • 84.5% of recent CSU graduates taught in schools with one-quarter or more students coming from families in poverty, and 63% taught in schools in which half or more come from families living in poverty.
  • 57% taught in schools who had not had teachers credentialed in subjects.
  • Approximately 56% taught in urban schools, and 10% taught in rural schools.
  • Many of the schools in which graduates choose to teach have mathematics achievement rates significantly below statewide averages.

These new mathematics and science teachers are contributing markedly to reducing the disparities in access to qualified mathematics and science teachers that have been found in the state for the past three decades and that have contributed to continued achievement gaps in these fields.

Leading Mathematics and Science Education Across California

CSU campuses give significant attention to preparing new mathematics and science teachers in particular for California's implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

As a result, the CSU and the new teachers our campuses prepare are now among the state's leaders in reforms addressing these standards and in fostering high-quality instruction focused on implementing the standards in historically underserved schools.

The California legislature has provided long-term support to the CSU's Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI), creating a foundation for sustained effectiveness by increasing the number of highly-trained teachers and educators.

Among the factors that enhance effectiveness are integration of recruitment strategies and financial support. Approaches for recruiting candidates from diverse populations are aligned with scholarships and grants that enable candidates to complete a teacher credential program without incurring more student debt.

Another factor supporting effectiveness is attention to connecting future teachers with science and mathematics communities of practice. In programs like the STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program, CSU science and mathematics teacher candidates are directly involved in scientific research at some of the country's foremost federal laboratories and engage as members of research teams with leading scientists.

Through partnerships like these, MSTI is preparing mathematics and science teachers today and developing the next generation of California's STEM teacher-leaders.