State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond celebrated the signing this week of several pieces of legislation he sponsored and supported, including measures that would help alleviate the teacher shortage, invest in bilingual teachers and combat the youth opioid crisis.
“I’m pleased that these laws will secure a brighter future for our kids through increasing the teacher pipeline for bilingual teachers, making it easy for retired teachers to come back to classrooms, and providing a financial incentive for new prospective teachers,” said Thurmond. “I’m also glad that California is taking another step forward to educate, prevent, and protect students from the opioid crisis, which has been a growing threat in recent years.”
The signing of Senate Bill (SB) 765 in particular will help mitigate the teacher shortage crisis by streamlining the process for retired teachers to return in a more expeditious manner and with greater consistency. Additionally, a key portion of SB 765 was incorporated into the budget, which increases the grant award for teacher candidates from $25,000 to $40,000.
Like most states in the nation, California is experiencing a teacher shortage. Teacher recruitment has largely been led by the 1,000 individual districts in the state, and the California Department of Education (CDE) historically has not had the staffing capacity to engage in direct teacher recruitment or support in this area.
However, earlier this year, Thurmond and partners embarked on an effort to offer resources to assist school districts in recruiting teachers. In recent months, Thurmond launched a one-stop recruitment portal that allows teacher candidates to get information in one place, including how to pursue a teaching credential, how to find vacancies at districts, and ways to access resources to support their education and credentialing. He also hosted a Teacher Recruitment Summit in August and formally launched a coalition to further engage in direct recruitment of teacher candidates statewide.
The full list of measures sponsored and supported by Thurmond and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this week includes:
SB 765 (Portantino): Teachers: Retired Teacher Compensation
This law allows California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) members to return to an education position more expeditiously and raises the income cap from 50 percent to 70 percent.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1127 (Reyes): Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program
This bill’s language was incorporated into statute with the Education Trailer Bill (SB 114 [Ch. 48, Stats. 2023]), and it reestablishes the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program, addressing California’s growing need for bilingual teachers in languages such as Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Arabic.
AB 40 (Rodriguez): Emergency Medical Services
This bill requires every local emergency medical services agency to develop a standard for ambulance patient offload time not to exceed 30 minutes.
SB 10 (Cortese): Preventing and Treating Student Opioid Overdose
This measure expands statewide prevention and education efforts against fentanyl-related overdose in schools. It requires that school safety plans—which are mandated by law—include protocols that respond to pupils suffering from an opioid overdose, such as new campus safety rules concerning fentanyl on campus. The bill would also ensure information is supplied to educators and other school staff to save children who overdose on campus.