Thurmond Bill Aiming To Improve Special Education Teacher Retention Passes Assembly

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SACRAMENTO – AB 2168, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, (D-Richmond) supports the retention of high-quality special education teachers. The bill passed out of the Assembly today with unanimous and bipartisan support. 

“Our state has had difficulty retaining qualified special education teachers,” Thurmond said. “Special education teachers have short tenures in their field with the average career of three years or less. This bill creates a statewide support network in the form of mentor teachers to aid both new teachers and others in need of assistance. With additional support and mentorship, we will address the high levels of educator turnover.”

In the past five years, the number of emergency special education teaching permits has nearly doubled. In the 2015-2016 school year over 1,700 special education teachers were issued emergency teaching permits.

AB 2168 will support teachers by providing mentor educators for any teacher whether they have been teaching for years or are new to the profession. When teachers receive quality mentorship they become more effective educators. Studies show that the students of educators in mentor teacher programs advanced an additional two to four months in English language arts/Reading and two to five months in math. These mentorship programs also help teachers stay in their profession longer and become better educators, strengthening student outcomes.

AB 2168 is supported by Common Sense Kids Action, Disability Rights California, and Presence Learning.