Teacher exodus growing

first_img The governor this year added $49 million in incentives for school districts to attract teachers into the lowest-performing schools, Bersin noted, and an agreement was made with the University of California system to train an additional 1,000 math and science teachers over the next five years. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, officials said they have been working hard to recruit new teachers and to reduce the number working with only temporary or emergency credentials. “We never stop recruiting. We are already two months into recruiting for next year,” said Deborah Ignagni, the LAUSD’s director of certificated recruitment. Most of the recruiting is done within California, with some nationwide and in Canada, she said. In the past, the district has also recruited in the Philippines, Spain and Mexico, and it might do so again this year. The district hired 2,376 teachers this year, bringing the total to 34,610, although the biggest need for new teachers is in math, science and special education. The district has also reduced the number of emergency credentialed teachers from 3,749 in 2002 to the current 249. The central administration does not assign teachers to specific schools but recruits them to the district and sets up interviews with principals and local school hiring committees. But some educators feel a school’s location makes a difference in the quality of its teachers. Frank Wells, who has been principal of Locke High School in South Los Angeles for the past two years and was previously assistant principal at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, sees a difference in the quality of teachers at the two schools, mostly because of community involvement. He feels that parents in affluent communities are more assertive, and so lower-performing teachers might be transferred to schools like Locke, where parents are less vocal. “Parents (at Taft) wouldn’t tolerate what we’re subjected to here,” Wells said. “That community doesn’t tolerate it. The squeaky wheel gets addressed.” His school has about 3,400 students, with 128 classroom teachers. Of those, 32 have only emergency credentials or are interns – a number he feels is too high. Some education officials feel the assignment of inexperienced teachers to lower-performing schools is a result of collective-bargaining agreements, in which teachers with seniority can transfer out of inner-city schools. But A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said experience doesn’t always equate to quality. “It’s true that a lot of inexperienced teachers are in the inner city and hard-to-staff schools, but that doesn’t automatically mean that they’re not good teachers or not able to do the job,” Duffy said. And, he said, if the district improves a school’s resources such as staff development, safe campuses and higher salaries, “veteran teachers will be falling over themselves to get in there.” Harrison Sheppard, (916) 446-6723 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “There is a very narrow window of opportunity,” Gaston said. “So it really is incumbent upon the policy community to act now to mitigate this situation.” While struggling with short staffing, schools with the most students from minority and low-income families will also get unevenly large shares of the least-experienced teachers. California sends 85 percent of intern teachers to these schools, Gaston said. Schools that rated lowest in the Academic Performance Index were five times more likely to have underprepared teachers than higher-performing schools, according to the report. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has faced sharp criticism this year over education funding, plans to focus on the issue next year, according to his education secretary, Alan Bersin. “This is a huge and critical infrastructure need that the governor understands as we experience this generational shift,” Bersin said. SACRAMENTO – California will face a shortage of up to 100,000 teachers in the next decade as retirements crest even while schools cope with tougher federal requirements for student learning, according to a report released Wednesday. At the same time, enrollment has been dropping in teaching-preparation programs in the state – from 76,000 in 2002 to 67,500 in 2004, according to the report from the nonprofit Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, based in Santa Cruz. Center director Margaret Gaston said the 2005-06 school year could be one of the last in a long time when the supply of teachers meets demand. California schools have about 306,000 teachers and hire about 22,000 a year just to cover normal attrition, Gaston said. But the baby boomers, about one-third of the current teachers, are expected to retire within 10 years – meaning the state is going to have to step up recruitment. last_img read more