After years of disseminating pink slips to teachers, California is now scrambling to hire more teachers in the face of an emerging teacher shortage.
One local response comes from Brandman University, which is slated to host a job fair in Salida Saturday in hopes of filling hundreds of positions at multiple school districts throughout the region as part of a greater statewide network of hiring events.
School districts slated to attend Saturday’s event include Atwater Elementary School District, Ceres Unified School District, Delhi Unified School District, Empire Union School District, Central California Child Development Center, Modesto City Schools, Patterson Unified School District, and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
“We are thrilled to host this event to help fill critical full-time teacher and substitute teacher positions with passionate, highly competent, and technologically savvy teachers for our partner school districts,” said Christine Zeppos, Dean of the School of Education at Brandman University.
“Due to the increase of teacher retirements, the increase in the number of K-12 students to teach, and the fact that statewide California has produced about 50 percent fewer teachers each year than we did 10 years ago, the state is facing a serious teacher shortage that will last for several years. There is no better time to enter the teaching profession,” continued Zeppos.
According to the California Department of Education, school districts throughout California need to fill nearly 21,500 teaching slots, however, the state is issuing fewer than 15,000 new teaching credentials per year. California issued 14,810 teaching credentials in 2013-14, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. That number has been steadily declining since 2008-09.
A report titled “Addressing California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage: An Analysis of Sources and Solutions” released by the Learning Policy Institute, which is a new national education research and policy organization based in California and Washington, D.C., underlined the severe need for teachers. As outline in the report, authors stressed that “if current trends persist, emerging teacher shortages in California will continue to increase unless policymakers address both sides of the supply and demand equation.”
“Our analysis shows California on a trajectory that, if left unchecked, will likely result in increased teacher shortages and greater inequities among students in different communities. This will seriously hamper the state’s effort to implement more challenging new learning standards,” said Learning Policy Institute President Linda Darling-Hammond. “Teacher recruitment and retention strategies will be critical to stem the shortages and keep current state reforms on track.”
Despite widespread teacher shortages, Turlock Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jason Maggard said in December that TUSD has remained a highly desirable district. While some school districts were forced to open the school year with substitutes in place, Maggard said that TUSD was able to start the 2014-2015 school year fully staffed.
“I think that’s a huge testament to our board, to our administration, to our teachers and to our support staff,” said Maggard in December. “We really do have an amazing district. People want to come to Turlock. It is highly desirable.
“Despite the difficulties many districts throughout the state have had in staffing qualified teachers, TUSD has had the fortune of having teachers interested in working here,” continued Maggard.
Maggard revealed a plan in December to help TUSD hire teachers, which includes maintaining communication with local colleges and universities. In visiting classes at Stanislaus State this past semester, Maggard said that he and Director of Human Resources Rod Hollars gained a better idea of what students are looking for in a teaching position. Among other aspects, students said that it was important to them that the school district they work for includes support, good working conditions and fair compensation.
In an effort to be proactive, TUSD also has plans to hire early for the 2016-2017 school year. To demonstrate this, Maggard said that the district has already hired two new teachers, who were unable to teach at TUSD this year due to contractual obligations.
“We have to get out early to secure the best teachers to work with our students as all neighboring districts are vying for the same people,” said Maggard.
Participants at Saturday’s Education Hiring Event at Brandman University should come prepared for same-day interviews with resumes and CBEST scores or an out-of-state teaching credential. Those interested in substitute teaching need to meet the qualifications for applying for a 30-day substitute permit. Those and other criteria can be found at ctc.ca.gov/credentials. Information will also be available for those interested in earning a teaching credential through Brandman’s School of Education.
The Education Hiring Event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday at Brandman University, 5222 Pironne Ct. in Salida. To register, visit edjobfairmodesto.eventbrite.com.