Practice Areas

Spotlight on California's teaching pool in the future

One commentator on educational strategies who disagrees that "the production of teachers in this country is falling off a cliff" perhaps needs to take a closer look at California-based data that are being reported.

Here are a couple numbers to contemplate that appear in a recent article focused on a shortage in California of special education teachers and instructors in other select disciplines: 719,000 and 499,800, respectively.

That greatly reduced latter figure is the tally for the number of individuals in California in the 2012-13 school year who were enrolled in programs geared toward licensing them as teachers in the state. As can be readily seen, the number spells a stark drop off from the 719,000 figure, which applies to similarly enrolled students in the 2008-09 term.

The bottom line as observed from those enrollment figures certainly seems clear enough, as well as somewhat ominous for the future of education in the state: In a nutshell, the number of people being prepared to step into state classrooms and teach is rapidly falling off.

And that, notes the above article, is especially concerning in the realm of special education programs, where a "lack of institutional response" is cited.

The Learning Policy Institute, a California nonprofit organization, has some suggestions for remedying the growing concerns surrounding teacher shortages and preparation in the state.

One of them is to offer a free education to all California high-school students who graduate in the top 5 percent of their class and want to pursue a career in teaching. Another is for taxpayers to help defray teaching students' tuition and living costs, and/or to forgive student loans.

As we have noted many times in our posts, a special education student in California has the right to "meaningful" learning. We wholeheartedly support all measures taken by legislators and school officials that help promote that goal.

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