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California bill proposes tax incentives to fight teacher shortage

As we discussed in a past post, many places in California have been experiencing a teacher shortage in recent times. In that post, we noted that one area that the shortage could be hitting particularly hard is special education, as special education teacher shortages are a particularly common shortage reported by school districts in the state.

Recently, a bill was proposed in California aimed at combating the state’s teacher shortage. Some have raised questions as to how effective the bill would be at addressing California's specific shortage issues.

The bill would give teachers in the state a rather significant tax incentive. Specifically, it would eliminate state income taxes for teachers who are six or more years into the profession. The hope is that such an incentive would draw more people into the field of teaching.

The income tax elimination would apply to teachers in all subject areas. Given this, some have expressed concerns that this proposed tax incentive might be too general to address the specific areas of major teacher shortages in the state, like the special education teacher shortage.

How many special education teachers there are in the state could have significant implications when it comes to special education quality. Thus, what impacts measures the state ends up taking to address the teacher shortage have on special education teacher levels in the state could have big impacts on California’s special needs students.

What steps do you think California should be taking in response to the special education teacher shortage and other teacher shortages in the state?

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “California Mulls Eliminating Income Tax for Teachers,” Lauren Camera, March 10, 2017

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