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New General Science Credential Approved to Ease Shortage Of Middle School Science Teachers

By Aimee Scribner - September 1, 2008

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) announced recently the approval of a Foundation-Level General Science Credential, to ease the shortage of science teachers qualified to teach in California middle schools.   The new General Science Credential authorizes instruction in general, introductory, and integrated science, K-8 grades.

This new science credential responds to a recent analysis of teacher misassignment by the CTC which revealed that 20 percent of all science teachers are underprepared to teach science in California classrooms.  Teachers holding the new General Science Credential, teaching courses within this authorization, will be considered “highly qualified”.  This distinction is vital at a time when California continues to struggle to increase the numbers of “highly qualified” teachers in our classrooms so we meet the federal No Child Left Behind Act guidelines.

According to the California Department of Education, in 2006-07 over 15,000 people were teaching sciences with approximately 8,000 of them teaching general science courses.  Furthermore, 80,000 science courses were taught in California’s public schools with over 43,000 of these courses at the foundational level.  The new General Science Credential would prepare individuals to teach these courses so teachers with full science authorizations will become available to teach more advanced courses.

Editor's Note: Aimee Scribner  is the Senior Legislative Coordinator for Governmental Solutions Group, LLC .  She is a former consultant to the Assembly Education Committee and a former teacher.