About the Fellowship
Why Does Partners in Education Support Future Teachers?
During the past eleven years, PIE has awarded more than 150 fellowships amounting to over $700,000 to Cal Poly Pomona teacher candidates planning to teach at the elementary and secondary levels. The Board has made this effort its number one priority. Many in the public believe we have a surplus of teachers because we have heard about the thousands of layoff notices issued each March. What the public does not hear is that most of these notices are rescinded in August as school budgets become finalized, acknowledging the fact that every teaching position is essential and cannot be spared. PIE supports future teachers for the following four reasons:
- Students seeking a teaching credential must work full time in a classroom for 20 weeks.
- Today's elementary and high school students will enter a knowledge-based economy and far too many are not proficient in English language arts and mathematics.
- The quality of teaching is the most important factor in student learning.
- A large number of teachers retiring is imminent but the number of teachers being credentialed each year in California continues to decline.
Students seeking a teaching credential must work full time in a classroom for 20 weeks under the supervision of an experienced teacher in order to apply for a credential. Most students in the credential program work more than 20 hours a week to support themselves. Giving up a job to finish their credential work is an economic hardship. Thus, PIE created a fellowship program that allows students to focus on their supervised teaching assignments without worrying about how the bills will be paid.
The economy of California has changed from an industrial-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. Students who enter today's economy without sufficient technical skills and knowledge are doomed to a life in the lower economic levels of society. We are making progress in student proficiency in math and language arts, but in 2007 only 43 percent of students scored at the proficient level in English language arts and just 41 percent in mathematics. Proficiency is defined as performing at grade level. The California Council on Science and Technology reported that during the next decade, California will fall short by 30 percent in preparing math and science teachers. Right now, more than a third of high school math and science teachers are not fully credentialed in math and/or science.
The quality of teaching is the second most important factor in student learning. There are two major factors that affect student learning: family background and the quality of teaching in the classroom. PIE seeks to enhance the learning future teachers acquire in their teacher preparation programs which ultimately translates to higher quality teaching in K-12 classrooms.
A large number of teachers retiring is imminent but the number of teachers being credentialed each year is on the decline. Data show that more than one-third of the 309,000 in teaching positions in California are due to retire in the next several years. However, the number of credentials being granted has declined from a high of 27,150 in 2003-04 to less than 14,000 in 2012-13. This leaves a huge gap between the actual number of qualified teachers and the number of positions to be filled.
There are major shortages of teachers qualified to teach in the fields of mathematics, science, and special education. In some regions of our state, mainly inland counties, schools have trouble hiring and retaining fully qualified teachers in mathematics, science, and elementary education. Schools populated primarily with Latino or African-American children are more likely to have lesser experienced and non-credentialed teachers. Fellowships provided by PIE and other organizations will encourage students to pursue a teaching career.
**Data used in this article were provided by the California Council on Science and Technology and The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.