Photo of teacher and student California State Universy Teacher Preparation Program Wordmark
Updates
July 2007
Volume 1 - Issue 1
Photo of teachers attending workshop

“The demand for new science and mathematics teachers in the next ten years is expected to be over 33,000. The current rate of teacher production in California cannot meet the impending demand.”

Riding The Roller Coaster

The teaching profession took its first big roller coaster drop in the early 60’s when the “baby boom” generation forced its way into California’s classrooms. Both school facilities and an adequate teaching force became the issues of the day. It seems that education has been facing periodic abundance/shortage cycles ever since... and here comes the latest.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) has just released its annual Teacher Supply in California, report to the Legislature. This 375 page document clearly identifies the growing shortage of teachers that educators have been witnessing. The report lists, university by university, the decline in the production of newly credentialed teachers. There were 2,160 fewer new K-12 credentials issued last year (2005-06) than in the previous year. To emphasize the problem the report points out that 3,358 fewer new credentialed teachers were produced, by all segments in the licensing arena, the year prior to that. Is this just a shallow dip or should we be concerned?

Enrollment figures indicate the decline is real. Enrollment in teacher training programs has diminished every year since 2000. Nearly 13,000 fewer candidates are currently enrolled than during that base year. There is more. The basic trend indicator is the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). This exam has been the portal for future teachers and is easily considered the entry step into the profession. The decline in CBEST examinees has mirrored the enrollment decline. A trend is clearly in place.

The problem is bigger than simple production. The Center For The Future of Teaching and Learning, an educational think tank located in Santa Cruz, inspired omnibus education legislation last year when they published California Teaching Force 2006, Key Issues and Trends. This study identified a K-12 student population that would continue to grow through 2014-2015. This growing student population will be facing a concurrent decline in teacher availability. Nearly 1/3 of today’s teachers (100,000) are from that same baby boom generation that kicked all of this off... and they will be retiring in the coming decade. A more recent (March 2007) publication by “The Center” is titled Critical Path Analysis of California’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation System. The following quote points to a critical component of this growing problem: “The demand for new science and mathematics teachers in the next ten years is expected to be over 33,000. The current rate of teacher production in California cannot meet the impending demand.”

In summary we appear to have a declining interest in the teaching profession, a growing population of children and face a massive loss of our current teachers as the profession is beginning to gray. It certainly seems this roller coaster is poised at the top of a very steep drop.

Hang on!

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