SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There’s a new push at the state Capitol reduce a shortage of teachers around the state.
Legislators introduced Senate Bill 807, known as the “Investment in Teachers Act,” to help recruit and retain more teachers in California. The state’s K-12 school system is the most affected by the shortage.
Statistics show more than 40 percent of teachers leave the field within five years.
“They’re trying to keep me out here in California,” said David Joiner, who recently moved to Sacramento to begin his teaching career.
A Louisiana native, Joiner says it’s tough living in California on a teacher’s salary.
“Let’s put it like this, in Louisiana, I paid $500, but the rent is more than twice here,” Joiner said.
But Joiner says it’s worth it. Right now he’s applying to schools to get his teaching credentials, a costly journey ranging from $13,000 to $15,000. A recently proposed bill is offering incentives to keep teachers like Joiner in California.
“Teachers need to be finally recognized for the value they are,” said Bill Lucia.
Lucia is president of EdVoice, and sponsor of the proposed legislation. In an attempt to address the statewide teacher shortage, the bill proposes giving tax credits to cover training costs for new teachers while they are getting credentialed.
The bill would also eliminate all state income tax for teachers who stay in the classroom for more than five years.
“It’s been a struggle for us,” said Dr. Tiffany Smith-Simmons.
Dr. Simmons says she now travels around the U.S. and abroad seeking qualified candidates to teach in California.
“It’s the idea ‘can I afford to live on a teacher’s salary?'”, Dr. Simmons said.
While some like Lucia criticize outsourcing teachers, Simmons says it’s all about the impact teachers have on their students — like Joiner with his students.
“I have kids that look up to me and they see what I do and they say ‘wow I can be like Mr. Joiner’, said Joiner.
With the proposed legislation making it more affordable to be a teacher, Joiner says he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
“It makes me smile.”
Lawmakers who introduced the bill say because it’s so new, many organizations haven’t yet had the chance to evaluate it and take a position.