(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The growing shortage of high-quality teachers is most serious in particular subject areas, partly due to the shortage of students in these fields who enter the teaching profession.
(2) Many school districts have difficulty recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers for schools ranked in decile 1 or 2 on the Academic Performance Index, for pupils with special needs, for schools serving rural areas or large populations of pupils from low-income and linguistic minority families, and for schools with a high percentage of teachers holding emergency-type permits.
(3) The rising costs of higher education, coupled with a shift in available financial aid from scholarships and grants to loans, make the availability of financial aid and loan repayment assistance options an important consideration in a student's decision to pursue a postsecondary education.
(b) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature that the Assumption Program of Loans for Education be designed to provide veteran teachers and outstanding postsecondary students, particularly economically disadvantaged students, with the assurance of financial assistance to encourage them to complete postsecondary education programs leading to teaching credentials, and to seek employment as teachers in designated subject-matter shortage areas or in schools serving a large population of pupils from low-income families, schools with a high percentage of teachers holding emergency-type permits, or schools ranked in the lowest two deciles on the Academic Performance Index.
(Added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 516, Sec. 2.)