TEP Responds to California’s Needs

Thursday, February 7, 2019
finger painting young student

The teacher shortage in California has become dire. Just checkout the RAND report “Teacher Shortages in California: Status, Sources, and Potential Solutions” (Darling-Hammond, Sutcher, Carver-Thomas), which claims: “About 90% of principals looking to hire bilingual, special education, science, and mathematics teachers reported hiring challenges.” The report goes on to say, “In special education, shortages are a five-alarm fire. The most vulnerable students—students with the greatest needs who require the most expert teachers—are those with the least qualified teachers.” Almost as problematic were the numbers for mathematics teachers, for as the report says, “The number of new fully prepared teacher candidates holding preliminary credentials has decreased by 50% in 6 years, while the number holding substandard credentials increased by more than 80% in the same time period.”

UC Santa Barbara’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) is aiming to help alleviate these shortages. In the past few months two approvals from The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing means TEP is now offering a mild/moderate special education credential and the UCSB Department of Mathematics is now offering a Subject Matter Preparation Program (SMPP) in Mathematics. Here’s how those two changes will help.

A Mild/Moderate Special Education Credential

The ESC Program at UC Santa Barbara works to provide candidates with both the values and strategies they need to see themselves as change agents in today’s schools. The Teacher Education Program strives for inclusive, meaningful life outcomes for students with disabilities and that value is at the center of all the program’s decision-making. With this new credential, the TEP will offer both a mild/moderate and a moderate/severe Education Specialist Credential (ESC) beginning with its 2019-2020 class.

“We are excited to offer this new credential—it is a high area of need for schools locally and statewide,” says Teacher Education Program Interim Director Andrew Fedders. “Adding the Education Specialist Credential in Mild/Moderate disabilities strengthens our Teacher Education Program overall. The credentials offered in TEP will now be covering more of the continuum of student abilities in schools than we have ever before. This will provide our teacher candidates new opportunities to work together to strive toward the success of all students.”

To further strengthen this new program, the Gevritz School is in the process of hiring a tenure-track teaching faculty member with expertise in mild to moderate disabilities. The successful candidate will have her or his primary teaching responsibilities in the Teacher Education Program and prepare both general education and special education pre-service teachers to teach all subjects to K-12 students with mild to moderate disabilities.

A Subject Matter Preparation Program (SMPP) in Mathematics

This new program—which is directed by Dr. Christopher Ograin, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Education—is intended for undergraduates seeking admission to single subject teacher credential programs to teach secondary mathematics.

“The Subject Matter Preparation Program in Mathematics prepares mathematics majors in the specific mathematics content areas they need to be successful secondary teachers,” Ograin says. “For example, one of the domains in the program is geometry since this is a high school area. Undergraduates in the SMPP must take a course in geometry that is an advanced treatment of the topic that goes well beyond the geometry they will be teaching about in a typical high school geometry course. It is a university-level course intended for mathematics majors, but it lays a solid foundation for the particular content they will be teaching. We need all of our secondary teachers to really know their mathematics at a high level, and this program aims to make that happen.”

The big advantage for undergraduates who complete the SMPP is that they are not required to pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) to earn the Preliminary Teaching Credential in Mathematics.

UC Santa Barbara joins 46 other approved institutions of higher learning that offer a Subject Matter Preparation Program in Mathematics; it is the sixth UC campus to do so.

The Teacher Education Program offers students the opportunity to earn a single subject teaching credential in mathematics.