By Richard A. Carranza
Perla Rivas completed a degree in biochemistry at San Jose State in 2010 and was at a crossroads. She considered becoming a teacher, but paying for a teaching credential seemed financially unsound, especially with the high cost of living in the Bay Area. On average, a first-year teacher with a credential and a master’s degree begins her career $50,000 in debt. However, thanks to a public-private partnership called the San Francisco Teacher Residency, Perla didn’t have to choose financial stability over teaching. Instead, she enrolled in a graduate program at the University of San Francisco with a substantial tuition discount and a living stipend provided by AmeriCorps. She was able to spend a year as a full-time apprentice teacher, earning both her teaching credential in chemistry and a master’s degree in teaching.