Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2002-03 Budget Bill

Commission on Teacher Credentialing (6360)

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) was created in 1970 to establish and maintain high standards for the preparation and licensing of public school teachers and administrators. The CTC issues permits and credentials to all classroom teachers, student services specialists, school administrators, and child care instructors and administrators. In total, it issues more than 100 different types of documents.

The Governor's budget includes a total of $72 million for CTC. This is $16 million, or 18 percent, less than CTC's budget for the current year. Of CTC's total budget, $46 million is from the General Fund (Proposition 98) for five local assistance programs generally directed at getting more certificated teachers into public schools. The budget also includes $1.7 million from the General Fund (non-Proposition 98) for state operations. In addition, the CTC expects to receive $14 million from the Teacher Credentials Fund (TCF). The CTC currently charges $55 million for the issuance and renewal of a teaching credential. The revenue it collects from this credential fee is deposited into the TCF. Additionally, CTC expects to receive $10 million from the Test Development and Administration Account (TDAA). The CTC administers a number of examinations, including the California Basic Educational Skills Test, for which it charges $41, and the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, for which it charges $122. It deposits revenue collected from these test fees into the TDAA. The CTC uses funds from the TCF and TDAA primarily for covering operating expenses.

Major General Fund Budget Proposals

Figure 1 lists the Governor's major General Fund budget proposals. The Governor's budget proposes to reduce General Fund spending by $12 million, or 20 percent, from the current year.

Figure 1

Commission on Teacher Credentialing
General Fund Budget Proposals

(Dollars in Millions)




Change from






State Operations

Teacher Credential Fee Buyout





Teacher Credentialing Service
Improvement Project




Governor's Teaching Fellowships





Paraprofessional Training Program














Local Assistance—Proposition 98

Internship Teaching Program





Pre-Internship Teaching Program



Paraprofessional Training Program





California Mathematics Initiative





Teacher Misassignment Monitoring














Eliminates Funding for Information Technology Project. As Figure 1 shows, the Governor's budget proposes to eliminate General Fund support for the Teacher Credentialing Service Improvement Project, which is CTC's major information technology project. The CTC would still be authorized to expend $1.5 million (all from the TCF) on the project in 2002-03, which is the same amount it was authorized to expend in 2001-02. In the current year, of the $1.5 million designated for the project—$1.2 million was General Fund and $298,000 was TCF monies.

Continues Funding for Fee Waiver Program. The Governor's budget also proposes to continue funding a teacher credential fee buyout program. The Governor's budget includes $1.6 million for this program, which waives the $55 application fee for first-time applicants. (See write-up below.)

Reduces Funding for Local Assistance Programs. Additionally, the Governor's budget proposes to reduce funding for three local assistance programs that CTC administers.

We discuss these programs in more detail in the "Education Crosscutting Issues" section of the Analysis. In that discussion, we recommend that the Legislature include all four of these programs in a new formula-based teacher support and development block grant. Under the new block grant, school districts would receive per-teacher funding rates greater than or comparable to the current-year rates. Additionally, under the new block grant, the programs would not be limited in size—districts that wanted to operate an approved internship program, for example, could serve as many teachers as they wanted.

Eliminate Fee Waiver for First-Time Credential Applicants

We recommend the Legislature eliminate the fee waiver program for first-time credential applicants, thereby saving $1.6 million of General Fund monies, as there is no evidence it helps attract additional or better qualified teachers.

The Governor's budget includes $1,575,000 for a teacher credential fee buyout program. This program waives the $55 application fee for first-time applicants for multiple subject, single subject, special education, and specialist credentials. The state has provided General Fund support to waive the applicant fee since 1999-00.

No Evidence Program Attracts Additional, Better Qualified Teachers. Neither the administration nor CTC has provided any evidence to suggest that the $55 application fee is a barrier that prevents individuals from becoming teachers. There also is no evidence that it helps attract better qualified teachers. Indeed, by the time individuals apply for their credential, they have already completed a rigorous set of credentialing requirements and invested substantial time and resources. For example, a student enrolled in a two-year teacher-education program at the University of California (UC) pays approximately $10,000 in fees and more than $20,000 in living expenses. A student enrolled in a one-year program at the California State University pays approximately $2,000 in fees and approximately $10,000 in living expenses. These represent only the monetary costs—individuals also devote a significant amount of energy and personal resources toward completing a teacher-education program. Individuals who have completed these programs therefore are unlikely to be discouraged from becoming teachers by the relatively small $55 fee required to obtain the necessary credential documentation.

State Funds Several Special Teacher Recruitment and Retention Programs. Although the fee waiver program probably does not attract additional teachers or better qualified teachers, the state does fund several programs specially designed to meet these objectives. For example, the Governor's budget includes $119 million for the Teaching As A Priority program, which allows districts to offer certificated teachers signing bonuses, retention bonuses, housing subsidies, and classroom supplies. Unlike the fee waiver program—which provides a subsidy to all perspective teachers—this program provides financial incentives directly to teachers that districts either want to hire or retain.

The Governor's budget also includes more than $15 million to support the California Center for Teaching Careers, which is a statewide agency that promotes the teaching profession, and six Teacher Recruitment Centers, which are regional agencies that provide aspiring teachers with a variety of recruitment services. Although limited data exist on the effectiveness of these programs in attracting individuals who would not otherwise have become teachers, the programs do advertise throughout the country and attempt to recruit qualified teachers to work in areas with teacher shortages.

State Funds Several Financial Assistance Programs for Aspiring Teachers. In addition to funding these teacher recruitment and retention programs, the state funds several financial assistance programs for aspiring teachers. These direct assistance programs are designed to recruit students that might not otherwise become teachers because of the educational cost. For example, the Assumption Program of Loans for Education provides students with up to $19,000 in loan forgiveness if they agree to teach four years in a designated subject shortage area or in a low-income and/or low-performing school. Similarly, the Cal Grant T program provides students enrolled in teacher-education programs with grants to cover their educational fees. In 2000-01, the Governor also initiated the Governor's Teaching Fellowships, which provides $20,000 fellowships to students enrolled in teacher-education programs. In part, because these programs provide direct assistance to financially needy and/or particularly meritorious students, they are more likely than the fee waiver program to attract additional, better qualified teachers.

Legislature Could Structure Waiver Program for Financially Needy Applicants. If the Legislature wants to waive the application fee for financially needy students, it could establish a needs-based fee waiver program. Similar needs-based programs already exist. For example, the UC waives an examination fee (for the Subject A Examination) for all financially needy students. Although a needs-based fee waiver program would probably be a poor recruitment strategy, it would reduce the financial burden of the application fee for financially needy students.

In sum, we recommend that the Legislature eliminate funding for the fee waiver program, thereby saving $1.6 million of General Fund monies. The Legislature should eliminate the program because (1) there is no evidence it attracts additional, better qualified teachers; (2) the state has several programs specially designed to recruit and retain qualified teachers—programs that are likely to be more effective than the fee waiver program; and (3) the state already offers considerable financial assistance to financially needy and/or particularly meritorious students enrolled in teacher-education programs.

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