California Educator

November 2014

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By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Between 2008 and 2013, candidates in California teacher preparation programs declined from about 42,000 to 20,000, decreasing by 53 percent. (See chart, page 27.) Credentials issued to new teachers from 2007 to 2012 went from 23,320 to 16,450 per year. The constant attacks on teachers in the media also served as a deterrent, say many educators. This severely damaged and, some say, nearly broke the teacher pipeline. But there are a few positive signs that the teacher shortage may be luring people back to the profes- sion, the downward spiral may have finally bottomed out, and the pipeline may be on the verge of flowing again. H E N I R E N E A M E Z C U A first shared that she wanted to become a teacher, friends and family did not share her enthusiasm. "People asked 'Why are you going into teaching?' or said 'You're never going to find a job.' Sometimes they said 'Good luck with that,'" she recalls. That was a few years ago, when teacher layoffs were rampant and job oppor- tunities few. But times are changing, observes Amezcua, just three semesters away from earning her credential and bachelor's degree simultaneously from CSU San Marcos. She expects it will be easy to find employment as a middle school math teacher. That's because schools are hiring more educators, thanks to the influx of Proposition 30 money and because California is facing a teaching shortage. An additional 100,000 educators will be needed over the next decade, especially in math, science and special education. Shortages will be more acute in urban and rural schools. Some districts are already feeling the impact. There are so many teacher openings in Monterey County, for example, that two recruitment fairs were held this year, which is unprecedented. The shortage, which is expected to worsen, can be attributed to many fac- tors. Budget cuts decimated schools, and 32,000 teaching jobs were eliminated between 2007 and 2012, or about 11 percent of the workforce. With so many layoffs, the number of those entering teacher preparation programs plummeted. " Th e r e ' s a w h o l e n e w g e n e r a t i o n o f t e a ch e r s c o m i n g i n t o t h e p r o f e s s i o n w h o a r e p a s s i o n a t e , w i l l i n g t o l e a r n a n d r e a d y t o t e a ch , " s a y s Irene Amezcua. W Feature Teaching once again viewed as a viable profession 24

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