Report: California Schools Can’t Find Enough Qualified Teachers

AP Photo/Scott Eisen

A new survey, conducted by the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute, has found that there is a shortage of qualified teachers in the Golden State.

The survey, conducted with the California School Boards Association, included more than 200 school districts, and reveals that three out of four California school districts struggle to find enough qualified applicants to fill available teaching positions.

It also found that “teacher shortages are concentrated in districts serving California’s most vulnerable student populations,” and that 83 percent of low-income districts reported teacher shortages, while only 55 percent of more affluent districts did.

Part of the Common Core education program’s initial appeal was its intent to improve the standard of education in the more underprivileged parts of society. The Los Angeles Unified School District has been phasing Common Core into the educational curriculum for several years now. However, the Common Core program does not benefit children with special needs; in fact, Breitbart News spoke with several educators who said it is often detrimental to those children.

In the survey, 88 percent of responding districts reportedly said they faced a shortage of special education teachers.

Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) reported that there were over 64,000 people enrolled in teacher colleges or preparation programs between 2004 and 2005, according to state figures. Just one decade later, that number had dwindled to 20,000.

The problem appears to be multifaceted, ranging from attrition rates to obstacles at the district level.

SCPR notes that LAUSD superintendent Michelle King suggested in October that after about three years, teachers leave the profession, resulting in leakage. “Or am I constantly in this revolving door where [teachers are] in, then they’re out, and I’ve got to get more?” King reportedly said. “That’s a huge piece, because that’s where we see the leakage … After about 3 years, they don’t stay.”

Roughly three out of five districts reportedly had trouble filling openings in math or science. According to SCPR, Karen Symms Gallagher, dean of the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, said that the Los Angeles Unified School District has a problem finding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers. “It is also understanding the shortage is down to a district [level].”

Districts are looking at a variety of ways to “recruit and retain” more teachers, including raising salaries, adding stipends for teachers in high-need fields, and offering signing bonuses to new teachers. Some have reportedly even offered loan forgiveness or service scholarship programs.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz


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