Data Show 17% of Teachers Lack Credentials in the Courses They Teach

California’s teacher shortage has forced many schools to assign staff to classes they’re unprepared to teach. New data reveals the number is nearly 20%.

The data comes from the state’s Teaching Assignment Monitoring Outcomes by Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) — a new tool to help districts address the shortage. According to the FTE, 17% of K-12 classes during the 2020-21 school year were taught by teachers who aren't credentialed for their respective courses.

The numbers are even worse for smaller, rural districts in far-flung areas of the state. Almost all courses at one small school in Humboldt County were taught by interns. 

Bay Area schools also underperformed in teacher preparedness compared to the rest of California. Furthermore, according to the report, 10% of classrooms (27,500 courses) are taught by teachers without credentials; 1.5% of courses are taught by interns; and 4.1% of assignments are deemed “ineffective.” This means the teachers are using emergency permits or working without proper authorization.

“As we begin to emerge from a global pandemic, this data is an important tool to drive conversations about how we can best serve students,” said Mary Nicely, chief deputy superintendent of public instruction at the California Department of Education. “By launching this annual report, we are providing a new level of transparency to support schools, students and families as we find ways to navigate today’s challenges to public education, including statewide education workforce shortages.”

There have been several state initiatives aimed at increasing the number of available educators. These include billions of dollars in grants for teacher recruitment and readiness.

Read more at KQED and access the full FTE report here.


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