Just How Bad is California’s Teacher Shortage?

California’s teacher shortage is often treated as a foregone conclusion. But not so fast, say the researchers. The latest data doesn’t quite support the dire predictions we’ve heard about the state’s dwindling teacher supply.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the outlook on teacher shortages has been improving along with financial conditions. California had 332,640 teachers in 2010. By 2015-16, there were 352,000. At the same time, the schools’ student population saw no large increases.

Over time, the LAO predicts that much of the shortage will be solved by market forces alone. The LAO’s analysis comes amid a bevy of proposals put forth by state lawmakers that aim to shore up the supply of instructors in public schools. A list has been provided by the Sacramento Bee.

It may ultimately be difficult to reach a conclusion one way or the other. Data on credentialed teachers serving in the state’s public schools is scarce. For that reason “no inference may be made regarding the shortage or surplus of teachers,” cautioned the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in its latest report to the Legislature.


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