Despite economic woes and an increase in the number of pink slips teachers across California received this year, many UCSB students interested in pursuing a career teaching math or science can breathe easy.
UCSB’s Gevirtz School Graduate School of Education, announced on Tuesday, June 9, that the National Science Foundation awarded it the $900,000 Noyce Grant to promote the education of math and science teachers in the Cal Teach program. The grant will give a $10,000 fellowship to 75 students in the teacher certification program per year over the next five years. Funding for the grant came as a part of the education sector of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Cal Teach is an undergraduate program designed to recruit and mentor potential secondary science and math teachers in the University of California system. The program works to increase the number of math and science credential candidates in the Teacher Education Program, who will benefit directly from the fellowship money.
After four years of undergraduate education, many students find committing to an extra year of extensive schooling, such as the teacher certification program, to be economically unfeasible. However, the $10,000 fellowships will provide students with a sizeable portion of the approximately $16,000 tuition for the one-year program. UCSB Cal Teach Coordinator Susan Johnson commented that Gevirtz is excited to get the grant as it will hopefully attract more students to complete the certificate program.
“We are absolutely anticipating growth,” Johnson said. “We figure it will be almost a 70 percent increase of math and science teachers. That’s a big jump.”
Gevirtz also recently developed a new undergraduate minor in science and mathematics education, which school leaders hope will also help increase numbers of students in the certification programs.
The fellowship requires that students teach in economically challenged, “high-needs” schools for at least two years after completing the certificate program. Students must complete an application process in order to be eligible for the fellowship.
“This translates into literally thousands of young Californians having specially prepared mathematics and science teachers in their secondary classrooms,” said Gevirtz dean Jane Close Conoley in a June 9 press release. “These are teachers who know how to be effective with English language-learners and economically disadvantaged students.”
Despite statewide budget cuts, such an increase is especially important in light of an anticipated shortage in secondary math and science teachers. According to the Gevirtz website, many of California’s teachers will likely retire in the next decade, leaving jobs available for new math and science teachers.