California Facing Statewide Teacher Shortage: New Survey

California faces a statewide teacher shortage because so many are leaving the job and so few are entering the profession, according to a new survey released Wednesday. And most school districts surveyed said the problem is getting worse.

LaTeira Haynes, right, teaches her biomedical science class at Dymally High School in South L.A. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

LaTeira Haynes, right, teaches her biomedical science class at Dymally High School in South L.A. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The staffing problem is both wide and deep, with 75% of more than 200 districts surveyed reporting difficulties with filling positions and low-income urban and rural areas hit hardest.

“It’s a national phenomenon, but we are probably on the more severe side,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, head of the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute, which oversaw the research. “This is partly because we had cuts and cuts for years in our budget for education.”

Teacher attrition has been fueled by poor working conditions that include larger class sizes. At the same time, fewer prospective teachers entered the training pipeline, a decrease of 75% over the last 10 years, Darling-Hammond said.

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