| A Continuing Crisis
California is a big, complex state where contention
often drowns consensus.
But one of the few places where there is clear
consensus is the need to improve our public schools and the understanding
that we need a top-quality teaching force for that improvement to
To their credit, Californias leaders have
applied attention and resources in the past few years to strengthening
the teaching force. There have been some slight improvements, but
there is still a long way to go. Consider:
- The gap between the number of credentialed
teachers being produced and the number the state needs is expected
to grow significantly over the next decade.
- One in seven California teachers does not yet
have even a preliminary teaching credential.
- About half of all new teachers are entering
their classrooms without benefit of a preliminary credential or
having practiced teaching under the supervision of a veteran teacher.
- Poor students are far more likely than their
wealthier counterparts to face teachers who are underprepared
- Students in Californias lowest-performing
schools also are far more likely to face teachers who are underprepared
These are all huge problems. And Californias
severe budget crisis will make further improvements even more challenging
for the states policymakers, who will have to be creative
and focused to ensure that every student has teachers who are both
fully qualified and effective.