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 math and science by teachers who are not credentialed in those fields.
Access to qualified math 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 math and science teachers, responded to this challenge with a commitment to double 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 1,500 annually.
The 23-campus system achieved and exceeded this goal and is now preparing more than 1,500 teachers in math and science every year.
It's especially noteworthy that the math and science teachers prepared by CSU campuses very often teach in the state's high-need schools and regions:
These new math and science teachers are contributing markedly to reducing the disparities in access to qualified math 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.
CSU campuses give significant attention to preparing new math and science teachers in particular for California's implementation of the
Common Core State Standards in Math (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 Math 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 math communities of practice. In programs like the STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program, CSU science and math 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 math and science teachers today and developing the next generation of California's STEM teacher-leaders.