SB 807 Elevates Teaching Profession in California

Addresses California’s Structural Teacher Shortage

March 2, 2017

SACRAMENTO - State Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) announced he and Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) jointly introduced Senate Bill 807, the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017, which helps new teachers afford required training and exempts teaching income from California income tax for those who teach in public school classrooms beyond five years.  California would become the first state in the nation that excludes teaching income from state income taxes.

The issue of the teacher shortage in California has received increased attention in both state and national media for good reason.  Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has plummeted by 76% over the last decade. In their first five years, 30% of teachers leave the workforce. In addition, 1/3 of the teaching workforce is over 50 and expected to retire in the next few years. A reported 75% of school districts have difficulties filling positions and resort to filling positions with substitutes, teachers with substandard credentials or assign teachers to positions outside of their credential field.

Research demonstrates lower turnover and well-trained teachers in every classroom will increase educational attainment, boost economic gains of students, and lower costs of other government programs.  Students with well-trained teachers get better jobs, are more likely to go to college, save for retirement and positively contribute to the California economy.

“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.”

“With SB 807, California stands apart from all the other states by addressing the shortage and investing in teachers to stay in the classroom and help all our students succeed,” said Senator Galgiani.

Coauthor Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) agrees, “As a former school board member, I know that keeping great teachers in the classroom is critical to closing achievement gaps.  SB 807 sends a clear message that we value our teachers.”

“Teachers are California’s greatest asset to fighting achievement and opportunity gaps. Our state’s future and students simply cannot afford shortages,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). “As we work to attract and retain highly-effective teachers we must also ensure schoolchildren learn from individuals with diverse backgrounds in both race and gender. It is essential for California’s teachers to resemble the unique make up of our great state.”

“Teacher turnover has a significant, negative affect on student achievement, particularly for students in high-poverty, high-minority schools like those in my district,” said coauthor Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “SB 807 will help keep great teachers in classrooms where they’re needed the most. I am proud to partner with Senator Stern on this important effort.”

SB 807 is sponsored by EdVoice, a non-profit statewide education advocacy organization. “SB 807 elevates the teaching profession to attract and retain great teachers to benefit all kids and help close achievement gaps in the state’s most disadvantaged communities,” said Bill Lucia, President of EdVoice. 

CONTACT: Elizabeth Fenton, elizabeth.fenton@sen.ca.gov

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