A report by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) identified state policies that could produce solutions to end the rampant shortage of teachers across
The report, “Taking the Long View: State Efforts to Solve Teacher Shortages by Strengthening the Profession,” draws attention to the evidence-based policies pursued by states to strengthen their teacher workforce.
These policies for recruiting and retaining teachers were identified to be enacted in 40 states, including California.
“For too long, too many districts have been forced to use emergency permits and long-term substitutes for hard-to-fill teaching vacancies,” LPI President and CEO Linda Darling-Hammond said in a news release on Wednesday.
The policy strategies include offering service scholarships and student loan forgiveness for those earning degrees in education, mentoring and induction for new teachers, offering competitive compensation and implementing recruitment strategies to expand the pool of qualified educators.
The dean of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, Heather Lattimer, said that the biggest challenge in responding to this shortage is retention in credentialing programs, strengthening teacher quality and reducing diversity gaps in the teacher workforce.
“The recommendations provided by LPI are responsive to these goals,” Lattimer said.
The college released a newsletter introducing plans to address teacher shortages.
This will be done by building collaborative partnerships with area schools and using co-teaching models, the national science standards and the newest educational technologies.
“More than 900 graduates over the past 18 months can now serve as educators in California schools, thus helping to alleviate the teacher shortage,” interim Dean Paul Cascella said in the newsletter.
According to reports by The Mercury News, California has spent close to $70 million on initiatives to tackle the shortages over the past two years.
Efforts include a program that underwrites costs of teacher preparation programs for classroom aides and paraprofessionals who already work in the district, encouraging employees to get their teaching credentials.
An LPI report released in February provided evidence of shortages in California becoming more severe. Findings were based on a survey of 25 school districts in diverse locations in the state, and demonstrated that the shortages concentrated on several areas of study.
“In order to meet the need for great educators across our region, especially in high need areas including math, science, special education, bilingual education and computer science, we recognize that we need to continue to grow and recruit great candidates into the education field,” Lattimer said.
The report identified that four-fifths of these districts reported continued shortages from the previous year, more than half had observed no change in the issue, and one-third said that the situation has gotten worse.
Only 10 percent of districts reported improvements on the situation.
Three quarters of the 25 surveyed districts said that they were unable to fill all their vacant positions with fully credentialed teachers by the start of the 2018 school year, confirming the urgent need for the state to impose effective policies to address the shortage.
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed an increase in education spending in his final state budget this January, including a proposal asking the legislature for an approval to allocate $100 million in the 2018-2019 budget for recruitment and preparation of additional special education teachers.
The Connie L. Lurie College of Education has seen steady enrollment
and graduation rates in most areas and has even shown growth in the number of special education candidates who could potentially be hired.
“As a dean new to SJSU, I’ve been very impressed by the energy and
attention dedicated to teacher education both here at Lurie College and across the university,” Lattimer said.
Faculty at the college have managed to secure grant funding to work with experienced classroom teachers in order to
mentor new teachers, embed residency programs in local
districts and train principals and district administrators to support new teachers, according to Lattimer.
“Choosing to be a teacher is choosing to become part of a movement for equality and social justice,” Lattimer said. “We welcome all interested Spartans to come talk with us about becoming teachers.”