CSU, UC systems push to increase output of math and science teachers

summer Sundial

A new initiative designed to increase the number of students who

receive their credentials to teach secondary math and science was

announced May 31 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. ‘

‘?California Teach,’ a program developed for the University of

California, is aimed at quadrupling the number of math and science

teachers produced in the system within five years.

The California State University already has programs in place at

some of its universities that help students work toward their

bachelor’s degrees as well as their teaching credentials. ‘

‘?(We’re) creating a better pathway for students,’ said Colleen

Bentley-Adler, CSU director of public affairs. ‘?If students are going

to major in (math and science), we want them to think about becoming a

teacher.’

In addition to the existing programs, the CSU may offer fellowships

and pardon student loan debts to encourage math and sciences majors to

consider teaching.

The program coincides with the governor’s plan to expand

California’s loan forgiveness plan, which will authorize 350 new

financial aid awards for the 2005-06 academic year.

‘?We have an intense need in the L.A. basin area to get on top of the

math and science problem,’ said CSUN Provost Harold Hellenbrand.

CSUN, one of the CSU campuses with a program already in place,

offers students the chance to obtain their bachelor’s degrees in

mathematics, along with their teaching credentials, within four years.

‘?Now that these pieces are in place, we will begin to develop a

two-year program,’ said Bonnie Ericson, chair for the Department of

Secondary Education at CSUN. ‘

According to Ericson, the current program is limited to only those

incoming freshmen that have already met CSUN’s math and English

requirements. A two-year program will open up more opportunities to

students, she said.

‘?I think there’s a relatively limited interest,’ Ericson said. ‘

The current program, which is in its fourth year, only has a few

students involved, Ericson said.

The CSU produces about 60 percent of California’s primary and

secondary educators, according to the CSU. Twenty-two out of the 23

campuses offer credential programs in math, and 17 offer programs in

science. ‘

The CSU has also partnered with Boeing to create a professional

development program for current high school math teachers to ensure

they have the necessary skills to prepare their students for

college-level courses. The program is in its second year.

Eighteen companies, including Boeing, Adobe systems and Apple, have

already committed $4 million in addition to the $1 million promised by

the governor to stimulate California higher education’s role in high

school math and science education.

The initiative comes a year after Schwarzenegger’s request that the

two systems create programs to improve education and increase the

number of California’s math and science teachers. ‘

According to CSU’#8200;officials, less than 7 percent of all teaching

credentials issued in 2002-03 were in math and science.