Building an Excellent, Empowered & Diverse Teaching Force in California
At Teach Plus, we are driven by our belief that every student should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for post-secondary success. This can only happen when every student has access to excellent, empowered, and diverse teachers.
During the 2019 legislative session, Teach Plus Teacher Leaders advocated for a range of recruitment, development, and retention legislative vehicles to expand the teacher workforce to meet the changing educational needs in the state. The 2019 legislative session ended in September and Governor Newsom had to sign or veto all bills on his desk by the middle of October. In the end, California enacted several policy changes that made progress toward building an excellent, empowered and diverse teaching force and ensuring every student in California has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Teacher Incentive Grants and Educator Workforce Incentive Grants
Over the course of 2019, the advocacy efforts of Teach Plus Teacher Leaders contributed to important state reforms and investments, including:
- The Golden State Teacher Grant Program was signed into law and funded with $89 million in the state budget back in June. The program, proposed by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Patrick O’Donnell in the Teach Plus supported Assembly Bill 1623, delivers one-time $20,000 grants to aspiring teachers to help them cover the cost of the training they need to enter the classroom. The grants are targeted to those who commit to teach four years in hard to staff subject areas where California is currently facing shortage of teachers – primarily bilingual education, special education and STEM, and in schools that have had a particularly hard time hiring qualified educators. And as the Learning Policy Institute has indicated, these sort of service scholarships can also help diversify the teaching force by underwriting the cost of teacher preparation for candidates of color to enter the profession.
- Educator Workforce Incentive Grants - The 2019–20 California State Budget established the Educator Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG) program and allocated $38 million to support competitive grants for professional learning opportunities for teachers and paraprofessionals across the state. Of that, ten million dollars will be directed toward professional learning activities designed to implement the California English Learner Roadmap, as outlined in the Teach Plus supported SB 594 (Rubio). It also includes a grant program focused on meaningful professional learning focused on their students’ needs – like training on implicit bias, social and emotional learning strategies, and trauma-informed practices, as recommended by Teach Plus Fellows.
Other Important Wins for Educational Equity
- In a huge win for advocates across the state, Governor Newsom and state legislators approved and invested in a State Longitudinal Data System, providing $10 million for planning and development of a system to connect information from early education providers, K-12 schools, and college systems with employers, other workforce entities, and health and human services agencies, as advocated for by the Teach Plus Alumni Policy Advisory Committee.
Our Teacher Leaders appreciate Governor Newsom, state legislators, and our advocacy partners for all they have done to prioritize the needs of students of color and low-income students.