Senator Alex PadillaSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Senate Bill 5 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) was signed today by Governor Brown. Specifically, SB 5 will allow for more flexibility for teacher preparation programs by allowing up to two years of graduate level preparation. The programs are currently limited to one year. The bill goes into effect on January 1st, 2014.

“I thank Governor Brown for signing SB 5. He clearly recognizes that allowing more time for skill development will allow teachers to be better prepared when they enter the classroom,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

Since 1970, California has mandated that aspiring teachers earn a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject, and then take a one-year graduate level program to qualify for a teaching credential. During this one year program, aspiring teachers must pass the California Basic Skills test (CBEST), pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, demonstrate extensive academic content knowledge, learn to use technology in the classroom and understand child development and learning. They must also learn to provide language services to English Learners and how to engage parents, all while gaining classroom experience.

“Under current law, student teachers are provided just one year to meet the state’s rigorous academic and training requirements. Lifting the one year cap on graduate level teacher preparation programs will provide aspiring teachers the time necessary to develop the skills they need to teach effectively and meet state expectations and requirements,” said Senator Padilla.

“The state’s future economic competitiveness hinges on student success. Our aspiring teachers deserve the time necessary to develop their skills so they can be as effective as possible in teaching our diverse student population,” added Padilla.

Senator Alex Padilla, 40, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and is President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles.