California has a looming education crisis which hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. While our society seems fixated on the issue of standardized testing, we are ignoring an impending extreme shortage of qualified teachers.
Over the last decade enrollment in teacher preparation programs has declined by nearly 80%. In the past five years the number of credentials issued to fully qualified teachers has declined from 25,000 per year to near 10,000. At the same time the number of temporary and provisional credentials has doubled. Our public schools are being staffed by more teachers who have had less training. Adding to the problem, 30% of California's teachers will likely retire within the next 10 years.
CUSD has been fortunate to find fully credentialed teachers for the vast majority of our recent teacher openings. 96% of our teachers are fully credentialed, and those who are not, are working toward that goal. However, if we cannot get more students to pursue a career in teaching, we will not be able to escape the looming shortage.
CHS hosted a career day yesterday. I spoke to nearly 100 students about educational careers, and encouraged them to consider teaching. It was a bit disheartening to see so few hands raised when I asked how many of them were thinking of going into teaching. At a similar event a decade ago, I had 10-15% of the students indicate interest in a teaching career. Yesterday it was 2-3% at most.
Teaching has never been an easy job, and never will be. But it is one of the most essential and rewarding careers. The historical issues of low pay and tough working conditions are changing. There will always be new challenges to overcome, but more and more our society is recognizing that quality teachers are the key to increased student learning.
I encourage parents to talk to their student about careers in education. Students who have an interest should talk to the CHS Counselor for guidance. Our Vision for this district is to insure an excellent education for all students. We will never reach that goal if we cannot put quality teachers into each and every classroom.
A short presentation about careers in education is attached.