New Website Launches to Help Address Local Teacher Shortage
- September 19, 2022
To complement a statewide initiative to help recruit prospective educators to the profession amid an ongoing teacher shortage in California, KCSOS’s Teacher Development Program has launched an outreach campaign and new website to help address the local teacher shortage. The site, located at teachkern.org, is designed to educate prospective teachers on the vast benefits of teaching, what is required to become a teacher, and assist in onboarding candidates into local teacher preparation programs.
“Well-qualified teachers are among the most important contributors to a student’s success in the classroom,” said Tania Schalburg-Dykes, Coordinator of KCSOS’s Teacher Development Program. “Because of the impact teachers have on a child’s life, it is an extremely rewarding profession. The satisfaction in watching a child learn cannot be measured.
While the number of teacher credentials issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) has increased over the past several years, there are still too few teachers in the pipeline to meet workforce needs. The Great Recession, an aging teacher workforce and resulting retirements, class-size reduction, and population growth of Kern County have all contributed to a shrinking teacher workforce over the years.
“The Great Recession caused great financial instability in our education system, which led to many teacher layoffs,” said Schalburg-Dykes. “As a result, there was a significant drop in enrollment in teacher preparation programs for many years. We are still feeling the impact more than a decade later.”
Challenges presented by the pandemic have exacerbated the problem. California has seen an uptick in teacher retirements and teachers leaving the profession altogether due to the stress of navigating numerous unpredictable disruptions and many roles and responsibilities teachers assumed during the pandemic.
In June, the state released statewide Teaching Assignment Monitoring Outcome data for the first time. In Kern County, the data show that during the 2020-21 school year, 6.2 percent of Kern County teachers — which equates to about 550 teachers countywide — were hired on an emergency teaching permit.
“The recent data is clear there is a gap between available teaching assignments and fully prepared teacher candidates to fill them, said Schalburg-Dykes. “Outreach, education, and connecting potential candidates to teacher preparation programs is an important first step to filling classrooms with high-quality and effective teachers and that is what our Teach Kern initiative strives to achieve.”