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Legislator Proposes New Credentials for Dance, Theater Teachers

In an effort to increase the number of public schools offering theater and dance classes and to lure more dance and theater professionals to teaching, Santa Monica-area State Senator Ben Allen unveiled a bill on Wednesday to create, for the first time, teaching credentials in those subjects.

“Our message today is that we recognize the specialized training needed for dance and theater, that we value it, like we value these disciplines, like we value our teachers, our student, and our state,” said Allen, surrounded by half a dozen arts advocates at a Sacramento news conference.

Those supporters said the current teacher credentialing process – under which which a teacher who wants to teach theater must earn a credential in English and a dance teacher must earn a physical education license – must change.

There’s one big unknown that’ll determine the bill’s success: “How much demand would there be, [and] what is the job market for teachers” who earn a dance or theater credential, said Cal State Fullerton College of Education Dean Claire Cavallaro.

Cavallaro's program, one of the biggest teacher programs in the California State University system, would likely adopt the credential program, she said, with a few dozen students to start. But that wouldn't happen for at least two years if the state bill passes in this legislative session, she said.

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