Contact: Sarah Lillis
Phone: (916) 448-3868
SACRAMENTO – EdVoice today announced sponsorship of the “Invest in Teachers” Act, also known as Senate Bill 807, the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017. Introduced by Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills) and Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), SB 807 would address the acute statewide teacher shortage in California by providing tax credits to cover the training costs new teachers incur while getting required teaching credentials, and eliminate all state income tax for teachers who stay in the classroom more than five years.
“Teachers are the original job creators. The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state,” said Senator Stern. “SB 807 addresses the immediate teacher shortage and sends a loud and clear message across the state and nation: California values teachers. We will help train you and we want you to stay in the classroom.”
“California’s current teacher shortage affects students in high-need schools and in high-poverty districts and communities the most, which exacerbates opportunity and achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers,” said EdVoice President Bill Lucia. “It’s time California leads the nation and sends a clear message to all current and future teachers: You are valued and California will reward your commitment to California’s kids and future.”
The “Invest in Teachers” Act is designed to elevate the teaching profession by investing in well-trained teachers and fill an ongoing critical statewide infrastructure need. Without great teachers, California would not have great nurses, doctors, engineers, computer programmers, artists or musicians. Well-trained teachers improve academic outcomes, sustain higher-paying jobs and boost economic growth. SB 807 will help school districts across the state – three-quarters of which report recruiting difficulties – with the challenge of recruiting, hiring and training new teachers. SB 807 will also incentivize veteran teachers to stay in classrooms while encouraging former and out-of-state teachers to return to the teaching profession in California.
SB 807 goes beyond shining a light on the shortage and brings the Legislature and Governor to the solution of a bold investment no other state has made to reverse the immediate crisis and structurally change the teacher labor market going forward. California will be the leader in the nation to address unsustainable turnover of nearly one-third of teachers leaving the profession every five years just as waves of baby boomer retirements arrive.
Providing increased take home pay for teachers, SB 807 will foster a talent pool of multiple well-trained applicants for each job opening, significantly increase the number of well-prepared teachers by making required training affordable, and resolve the crisis of thousands of unprepared adults with fingerprint background checks operating as teachers, which disproportionately impact high-minority and high-poverty communities.
A website sponsored by EdVoice in support of SB 807—www.investinteachers.org—provides information on SB 807, including a petition encouraging public support for the legislation, and ongoing status of the legislation.
The teacher shortage is a statewide crisis requiring a state solution. California school districts are facing acute and worsening teacher shortages across all geographic regions, academic disciplines and grade levels. Based on data from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the California Department of Education, this year 155,000 students in California public school classrooms are led by adults with no sure evidence that they have been trained to teach, but have passed fingerprint background checks.
Research confirms well-prepared teachers in more classrooms will improve educational outcomes leading to long-term economic benefits and societal savings. Filling just the vacancies of severely unqualified adults with well-prepared teachers would boost long-term economic gains of students by an estimated $270 million annually.
SB 807 is also co-authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles).
EdVoice is a nonprofit grassroots network of over 50,000 parents, community leaders, educators, and the state’s leading education philanthropists, working together to increase student achievement for all kids and be heard in the decision making process in Sacramento. Follow us on Twitter at @EdVoice.