For the first time in decades, aspiring teachers in California would be able to major in education as undergraduates and get both a preliminary teaching credential and a baccalaureate degree in four years if a bill in the Legislature becomes law.
Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, could result in a dramatic shift
in teacher preparation. Distinct among the states, students wishing to become teachers in California are required to major in subjects other than education in college. Then, to get their teaching credential as post-graduates in nine to 12 months, they must pass a content test measuring their knowledge of the subject they plan to teach, and take courses in teaching techniques and intern as a student teacher in the classroom. Critics of the current system, including Linda Darling-Hammond, the chair of the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing, say compressing everything a teacher is expected to know into a program lasting a year or less leaves teachers less prepared than they should be, shortchanging their students.