Report: Growing number of underprepared teachers in California classrooms
- The Learning Policy Institute has tracked the increase in intern credentials, permits and waivers issued for teachers in California, using that number as a proxy for the severity of the teacher shortage.
- EdSource reports California issued 10,200 of these in 2015-16 after fewer than 5,000 in the 2012-13 academic year, slightly more than 6,000 the next year, and close to 7,600 in 2014-15 — and these underprepared teachers are concentrated in schools serving a large English learner and low-income student population.
- The only time schools can turn to underprepared teachers is to solve an acute staffing need and many of the intern credentials, permits and waivers have been issued for teachers of special education, science, math and bilingual education.
The teacher shortage has become an issue in many areas around the country. States are passing new laws to weaken the demands required of prospective teachers before they can lead a classroom. Utah now allows teachers to be hired with no prior training or experience in the field.
The substitute teacher shortage has also become severe in many regions. A report on conditions in Illinois found almost 20% of teacher absences go unfilled each week among 400 districts participating in a survey. In Boston, a startup solution called Parachute Teachers recruits professionals to cover classrooms and offer lessons on topics they’re passionate about. Students aren’t following their teacher’s prescribed curriculum, but they do get authentic learning opportunities in his or her absence.
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