The Irascible ProfessorSM


Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro
Breaking News - May 1, 2002:  Nearly 5,600 California Teaching Credential Candidates Could Lose Pell Grants Worth More Than $10 Million.

In a previous breaking news story The Irascible Professor revealed that California State Senate Bill 1646, which recently passed the senate education committee, would roll back the provision of the Ryan Act that requires all credential candidates in California to complete an undergraduate degree in an academic major.  SB 1646 would allow candidates for the elementary education credential to complete an undergraduate major in "elementary education".  This major, which according to the bill would have to be offered in schools of education at the various California State University campuses, would combine academic subjects with pedagogical training.  This would allow elementary education credential candidates to graduate in four years rather than the five taken by most credential candidates.

SB 1646 is opposed by many California State University faculty members on the grounds that the new "elementary education" major would significantly "water down" the academic requirements for elementary school teachers.

The Irascible Professor has learned of a major complication posed by SB 1646.  Currently, credential candidates enrolled in post-baccalaureate (fifth year) credential programs are eligible for Pell grants.  Normally, Pell grants are available only to undergraduate students.  But, because current California law does not allow colleges and universities to offer undergraduate majors in "education", California students enrolled in fifth-year credential program are eligible for these grants.

During the 2000-2001 academic year some 5,581 California State University students were enrolled in these post-baccalaureate credential programs.  They received approximately $10,321,000 in Federal Pell Grants.

If SB 1646 is signed into law, post-baccalaureate credential candidates would lose their eligibility for Pell Grants, even though many of them would be working towards credentials in areas other than elementary education.

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