An innovative state program has helped transform nearly 300 classified employees into credentialed teachers, with about 2,000 more staff in the pipeline, according to a report from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
FIRST PERSON | By Laura L. Manriquez, Carpinteria Association of the United School Employees
I recently became aware of an opportunity to obtain financial assistance in earning a teaching credential through the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program, which is intended to attract classified staff who are interested in becoming teachers.
In 2016, the CFT co-sponsored legislation to establish a teacher credentialing program for classified employees, and the 2016-17 state budget included $20 million to fund the campaign for five years.
Current law exempts part-time playground employees from classified status if they don’t also hold a second position in the same school district. Legislation now on the governor’s desk, however, would include part-timers who don’t have a second job.
AB 670 by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) would help about 1,500 “noon dutys” statewide.
“Part-time playground employees work side by side with classified employees performing similar duties,” Thurmond said. “They deserve the same protection and benefits as classified employees.”
Classified employees took two giant steps forward in Sacramento during 2016 after the CFT shepherded four bills through the state Legislature that address staff priorities. Gov. Jerry Brown signed two of the bills.
AB 2122 appropriates $20 million over five years to encourage classified employees to return to school and become teachers. Grants from the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program to districts and county offices of education will provide up to $4,000 annually to staff seeking a bachelor’s degree and credential.
Updated October 11, 2016
The annual budget passed by the state Legislature and signed by the governor includes an appropriation of $20 million over five years to fund a CFT co-sponsored piece of legislation known as the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.
Carlos Howe began working as a security officer for the Hawthorne School District in 2000, but he wanted more. After earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration, Howe joined the Santa Monica Police Department. It wasn’t a good fit.
“My hair was on fire everyday. I had recently married and was a brand new father, but it was dangerous and I was always gone, so I switched gears.”
By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President
Schools can be amazing places. Institutions that focus on the education and nurturing of young people have a special place in our society. While the interaction of students with their teacher is obviously an essential part of the educational process, it really does take a community of people to make learning possible and schools successful.
When Shannon Ferguson was a 20-something, she didn’t really focus on her community college studies, and after a few semesters her father suggested she look for a job with good benefits.
“He said that soon his benefits wouldn’t cover me anymore,” Ferguson recalled. “Dad was a teacher and mom was a paraeducator, so I naturally thought of applying with the Oxnard high school district.”