HB 2000

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by House Committee On:


Title: An act relating to creating an adequate supply of well-qualified mathematics and science teachers.

Brief Description: Providing a coordinated approach to creating an adequate supply of well-qualified mathematics and science teachers.

Sponsors: Representatives Priest, Wallace, Anderson and Sullivan.

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Education: 2/11/09, 2/18/09 [DP].

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Directs the Professional Educator Standards Board to serve as the lead agency to coordinate current and new initiatives to support preparation and recruitment of mathematics and science teachers.

  • Requires each public four-year institution of higher education to create a Washington Teach initiative to recruit and prepare mathematics and science teachers, offer an alternative route program for certification in mathematics or science, and reduce enrollment in certification for elementary education in order to increase enrollment capacity in mathematics and science.

  • Authorizes selection of up to three community colleges to offer a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate in mathematics or science, and up to three colleges to develop a baccalaureate degree program with a teaching certificate in mathematics or science.

  • Recognizes up to five years experience in nonschool mathematics, science, or engineering occupations for purposes of the salary allocation schedule if the teacher has at least 10 years of such experience.


Majority Report: Do pass. Signed by 13 members: Representatives Quall, Chair; Probst, Vice Chair; Priest, Ranking Minority Member; Hope, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Cox, Dammeier, Hunt, Johnson, Liias, Maxwell, Orwall, Santos and Sullivan.

Staff: Barbara McLain (786-7383)


Teacher Preparation Programs and Initiatives.

The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is the agency charged with establishing standards for and approving programs that lead to state certification as a teacher or other educator. Teacher certification programs are offered by public and private institutions of higher education. Certification can be earned as part of a baccalaureate degree, a master's degree, or a post-baccalaureate certificate program. The PESB also approves and oversees various alternative routes to teacher preparation that offer an abbreviated, classroom-based mentored internship and less traditional college coursework. Some alternative routes are designed for paraeducators to obtain a baccalaureate degree and a teaching certification; others are designed for mid-career professionals seeking a non-traditional pathway to a teaching certificate. Alternative route programs are operated in close collaboration between the institution of higher education and the school districts where candidates are placed for their internship. The majority of alternative route candidates are prepared to teach in subjects where there is a state or regional shortage, and the Legislature has provided alternative route scholarships for this purpose.

There are a number of state initiatives intended to encourage individuals to become teachers, particularly in shortage subjects. The Recruiting Washington Teachers Program (RWT) aims to recruit and support underrepresented, multicultural, and multilingual high school students interested in a teaching career. The RWT provides a summer academy, academic support and guidance, and classroom practicum experience. The Pipeline for Paraeducators program assists experienced paraeducators in obtaining a transferrable Associate's degree, then a baccalaureate degree with teaching certification in mathematics, English as a second language, or special education through an alternative route program. The Retooling to Teach Mathematics and Science program provides a scholarship for currently certified teachers to earn an endorsement to be able to teach mathematics or science. The Future Teachers' Conditional Scholarship program offers a scholarship for individuals who make a commitment to teach in Washington's public schools. The condition is one year of teaching for every year of scholarship if the teacher is in a shortage subject.

Mathematics and Science Teachers.

The 2008 Legislature directed the PESB to conduct a study to quantify the supply and demand of mathematics and science teachers and recommend strategies for how to meet the demand, including improving the productivity of current programs. The PESB found that there are approximately 3,030 full-time equivalent science teachers and 3,700 full-time equivalent mathematics teachers currently teaching in Washington's public schools. School districts have a difficult time quantifying their future demand. The PESB estimates that perhaps 300 science teachers per year and between 600 to 700 mathematics teachers per year will be needed. Washington's teacher preparation programs produce about 350 science teachers and 165 mathematics teacher each year. With very limited exception, preparation programs report that they have unused capacity for preparing teachers in these fields. In contrast, programs provided 1,253 candidates with an endorsement in elementary education in 2007-08.

As part of the study, the PESB also reviewed current programs and initiatives, both in Washington and in other states, focused on recruiting and preparing mathematics and science teachers. The study concluded that Washington's alternative route programs are similar to best practices identified in other states, but do not operate at a desired capacity. None of the public four-year institutions of higher education offer an alternative route program, although two of them offer courses as part of a consortium in Eastern Washington. The study also highlighted a model program from the University of Texas in Austin called UTeach where the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences collaborated to recruit promising mathematics and science majors into teaching by providing them with guidance, classroom experience, and a streamlined degree program. Western Washington University has developed and proposed a similar program and has increased enrollment in mathematics and science teacher preparation. The study found an initiative in California designed to help small rural school districts use data and seek private and federal funds to more effectively recruit highly qualified teachers.

The study also found that approximately half of new teachers start their post-secondary education in community colleges. Community colleges can offer associate degrees and non-degree certificates approved by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges(SBCTC). Seven colleges are authorized to offer applied baccalaureate degrees in technical fields on a pilot basis.

The study cited a national survey of mid-career professionals wishing to change careers, 40 percent of whom indicated that they would consider a career in teaching, but only 35 percent of whom would be willing to consider it at a salary of less than $50,000. In Washington, certain career and technical education teachers who have been certified on the basis of specific industry experience can use up to six years of experience in a managerial position for purposes of placement on the state salary allocation schedule.


Summary of Bill:

Coordination of Initiatives for Preparation of Mathematics and Science Teachers.

The PESB is directed to serve as the lead agency in a coordinated approach to create an adequate supply of well-qualified mathematics and science teachers. In fulfilling this role, the PESB:

The coordinated approach overseen by the PESB includes the following strategies and initiatives, some of which are created in the bill:

  1. building pipelines to mathematics and science teaching beginning in middle school and through college through such programs as the Recruiting Washington Teachers, the Pipeline for Paraeducators, and the Washington Teach Initiative;

  2. streamlining teacher preparation and improving the geographic distribution of mathematics and science teachers through the Retooling to Teach Math and Science program, alternative routes to teacher preparation, community college teacher preparation options, and rural recruitment collaboratives;

  3. shifting and building capacity in public four-year institutions of higher education for mathematics and science teacher preparation through participation in alternative routes and the Institutional Priority Initiative and Incentive; and

  4. attracting individuals to mathematics and science teaching through the Future Teachers' Conditional Scholarship Program and the Mathematics and Science Mid-Career Incentive.

Washington Teach Initiative.

Each public four-year institution of higher education, including branch campuses, must develop and implement an initiative for recruitment and development of mathematics and science teachers from within the institution and among high school students in partnering school districts. The plan must include evidence of a commitment to make development of mathematics and science teachers an institutional priority; collaboration among institutional leadership and colleges within the institution; targeted outreach, student advising, and recruitment; streamlined course requirements; opportunities for classroom experiences; and increased collaboration with school districts. Plans must be submitted to the PESB by October 30, 2009, with progress reports submitted annually until 2014.

Alternative Routes to Teacher Preparation.

By January 15, 2010 each public four-year institution of higher education, including branch campuses, must submit a proposal to the PESB to offer an alternative route program that provides a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate for mathematics and science teachers in collaboration with a school district or districts. If approved, the institution must begin operation of the alternative route program by September 1, 2010, unless the PESB authorizes an extension. A significant factor in the PESB's review of an institution's proposal is the quality of the partnership with local school districts.

Institutional Priority Initiative and Incentive.

Beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, all public four-year institutions of higher education, including branch campuses, must decrease admittance and enrollment of students seeking teacher certification in elementary education and increase enrollment capacity for students seeking certification in mathematics and science. An institution that can demonstrate that it has accomplished this objective in the last five years is exempt from the requirement, but is encouraged to continue increasing capacity in mathematics and science. Beginning in 2010-11, if funds are appropriated, the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) allocates an enrollment incentive to institutions for each enrolled student seeking certification in mathematics and science to provide support for the Washington Teach Initiative and alternative route programs.

Community College Teacher Preparation Options.

Community colleges can seek approval from the PESB to offer courses that teachers can use to demonstrate competencies needed for an endorsement in mathematics and science.

The SBCTC selects up to three community colleges who are willing to partner with school districts to offer a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate in mathematics or science through an alternative route program. To the extent possible, selected colleges must be geographically dispersed. The SBCTC and the PESB provide technical assistance to the colleges and school districts in developing the alternative route program and submitting it to the PESB for approval.

The SBCTC also selects up to three community colleges to develop and offer a program of study that leads to a baccalaureate degree with a teaching certificate in mathematics or science. To the extent possible, selected colleges must be geographically dispersed. The SBCTC and the PESB provide technical assistance to the colleges in developing the program of study and submitting it for approval by the SBCTC, the HECB, and the PESB.

Rural Recruitment Collaborative.

Subject to funding, at least two Educational Service Districts serving large numbers of small rural school districts must develop and operate rural recruitment collaboratives to assist the districts in recruiting, hiring, and retaining mathematics and science teachers. The collaboratives provide data, help districts develop partnerships with teacher preparation programs, examine recruitment and hiring practices, seek grants, and assist districts with accessing and using federal funds.

Mathematics and Science Mid-Career Incentive.

Teachers who are endorsed and in a teaching assignment in middle level or secondary mathematics or science are provided credit on the state salary allocation schedule for up to five years of documented non-school experience in occupations requiring a mathematics, science, or engineering degree. To qualify, the teacher must have 10 or more years of this type of non-school experience.


Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Preliminary fiscal note available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony:

(In support) This is a comprehensive proposal, but not terribly innovative. Some of this is proposed by the Governor in the budget, but we need to enact policy in legislation, not in budget provisos. It also reflects the hard work of the PESB to address our need for mathematics and science teachers. It takes a more aggressive approach by including the community colleges as a partner. This is based, in part, on the achievement gap studies. In order to recruit and prepare diverse teachers from local communities, we need to bring the educational program to them. There is a sense of urgency. We will not be able to implement the Core 24 graduation proposal until we have more mathematics and science teachers across the entire state.

The bill captures most of the recommendations in the PESB report, especially requiring additional participation by the public four-year institutions. The acknowledgement of Western's Teach Washington proposal is exciting. It is a very strong intervention, and its replication across all institutions is positive. The community college aspect of the bill was not in the report, but if the Legislature decides to go in this direction, the PESB will work with the colleges to offer programs. The PESB task force provided a good plan for addressing shortage areas. They should be in the lead because they have the connections to higher education and the K-12 system. Along with the bill comes a responsibility for funding; the PESB has a very small staff. The recognition of previous industry experience for math and science teachers is appreciated.

The community colleges are committed to working with the four-year institutions to expand the pipeline of math and science teachers. Asking the colleges to offer post-baccalaureate certification or a baccalaureate degree would be an expansion of their mission, but they would be poised and ready to respond to a suitable role in addressing the problem and graduating high quality candidates. There are successful models in other states of community colleges preparing teachers. The system has robust capacity for distance education and experience at reaching place bound individuals.

Special education teachers should be included because they are a perpetual shortage area. At Western, the Teach Washington initiative has been a huge success and the recognition of this is appreciated. Western would welcome the opportunity to partner with a community college to offer local teacher preparation programs. The time has come for a coordinated approach to solving the supply problem of math and science teachers. The increased requirements for math instruction and the increased need for math teachers are not in the future; they are here now.

(Opposed) This represents a major expansion of the mission of community colleges. It is premature to make this move without considering its implications on the rest of the higher education system. Teacher preparation is essential to moving students into the postsecondary pipeline, but the higher education system has been changing as a result of incremental policy actions such as this. Instead, the HECB recommends thoroughly examining the overall delivery system and waiting to make changes to the mission, size, and scope of that system until after this review.

Higher education institutions would be hard pressed to create new programming when they are being expected to take 20 percent budget cuts. It is important to have the conversation and identify strategies to address shortages, but the issues and solutions extend far beyond the colleges of education. The program at Western is wonderful, but each institution is different. If we are to move forward, there will need to be funding.

Persons Testifying: (In support) Representative Priest, prime sponsor; Jennifer Wallace, Professional Educator Standards Board; Michelle Andreas, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges; Lucinda Young, Washington Education Association; Christie Perkins, Washington State Special Education Coalition; Sherry Burkey, Western Washington University; and Brian Jeffries, Washington Roundtable.

(Opposed) Randy Spaulding, Higher Education Coordinating Board; and Julie Suchanek, The Evergreen State College.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.