(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the beginning years of the career of a teacher are a critical time in which it is necessary that intensive professional development and assessment occur. The Legislature recognizes that the public invests heavily in the preparation of prospective teachers, and that more than one-half of all new teachers leave some California school districts after one or two years in the classroom. Intensive professional development and assessment are necessary to build on the preparation that precedes initial certification, to transform academic preparation into practical success in the classroom, to retain greater numbers of capable beginning teachers, and to remove novices who show little promise as teachers. It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission and the Superintendent develop and implement policies to govern the support and assessment of beginning teachers, as a condition for the professional certification of those teachers in the future.

(b) There is hereby established the California Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System, to be administered jointly by the commission and the Superintendent. In administering the system, the commission and the Superintendent shall approve the most cost-effective programs of support and assessment. The commission and the Superintendent also shall ensure that programs meet the Standards of Quality and Effectiveness for Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Programs adopted by the commission and that local programs support beginning teachers in meeting the competencies described in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession adopted by the commission. The system shall do all of the following:

(1) Provide an effective transition into the teaching career for first-year and second-year teachers in California.

(2) Improve the educational performance of pupils through improved training, information, and assistance for new teachers.

(3) Enable beginning teachers to be effective in teaching pupils who are culturally, linguistically, and academically diverse.

(4) Ensure the professional success and retention of new teachers.

(5) Ensure that a support provider provides intensive individualized support and assistance to each participating beginning teacher.

(6) Improve the rigor and consistency of individual teacher performance assessments and the usefulness of assessment results to teachers and decisionmakers.

(7) Establish an effective, coherent system of performance assessments that are based on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession adopted by the commission.

(8) Examine alternative ways in which the general public and the educational profession may be assured that new teachers who remain in teaching have attained acceptable levels of professional competence.

(9) Ensure that an individual induction plan is in place for each participating beginning teacher and is based on an ongoing assessment of the development of the beginning teacher.

(10) Ensure continuous program improvement through ongoing research, development, and evaluation.

(c) Participation in the system shall be voluntary for teachers, school districts, and county offices of education and participation by certificated employees shall not be made a condition of employment. The commission and the Superintendent shall adopt and implement criteria and standards for participation in the system, including criteria regarding the eligibility of teachers and standards of local program quality and intensity for schools, school districts, county offices of education, colleges, universities, and other educational and professional organizations. The criteria and standards shall be consistent with the purposes of the system.

(d) (1) For purposes of this article, unless the context otherwise requires, “beginning teacher” means a teacher with a valid California credential, as defined in Section 44259.

(2) For purposes of this article, “beginning teacher” does not include a teacher with a life or a clear teaching credential who returns to serve in a certificated teaching position.

(e) Subject to verification and approval by an induction program director, a beginning teacher shall not be required to demonstrate that an induction standard has been met, or complete an element of an approved induction program designed to assist a candidate in mastering a given standard, if the candidate previously met the induction standard while participating in a commission-approved preparation program.

(f) The Superintendent and the commission shall disseminate the California Standards for the Teaching Profession adopted by the commission to colleges, universities, school districts, county offices of education, and professional associations, who shall be encouraged to use the standards in efforts to improve teacher preparation and support programs. Performance assessments developed under this article shall be designed to provide useful, helpful feedback to beginning teachers and their support providers. That information shall not be used for employment-related evaluations, as a condition of employment, or as a basis for terminating employment.

(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission and the Superintendent establish a statewide teacher induction program that supports locally designed, high-quality induction programs that provide individualized support and formative assessment for all participating beginning teachers as defined in subdivision (d). At the discretion of the local beginning teacher support and assessment system teacher induction program, funds allocated to a program on the basis of eligible beginning teachers may be used to provide support, assistance, and preparation services to other credential candidates who are in their first or second year of employment as a classroom teacher.

(h) This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the Marian Bergeson Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 348, Sec. 2. (SB 941) Effective January 1, 2012.)