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California Teaching Workforce is Running on Empty...but Coming Back

California’s Teaching Force 2010: Key Issues and Trends is the latest report in a twelve-year effort by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.

While student enrollment has dipped in the past few years, it is expected once again to increase by more than 230,000 students between 2009–10 and 2018–19, with the most significant growth at the elementary level. Yet California has seen a recent loss of new teachers and dramatic decreases in enrollment in preparation programs and the production of teaching credentials. As aging teachers retire, California’s capacity to produce the numbers of new teachers the workforce will need has been weakened and the state may again face a shortage. Consider:

  • The number of novice teachers has declined by 18,000 teachers or 50% in the last two years.

  • The number of enrollees in teacher preparation programs dropped by 45%, from more than 75,000 to fewer than 45,000 between 2001-02 and 2007-08.

  • The number of teaching credentials issued by institutions of higher education in California declined by 35% since 2004, from 27,000 to 17,800.

  • In 2009-10, 32% of the workforce was more than 50 years old, keeping about one-third of the state’s teachers on track for retirement within ten years.

Unfortunately, the state's capacity to prepare teachers has also been damaged. In response to unprecedented budget cuts, California State University (CSU), the state’s largest preparer of teachers, has had to reduce enrollment, increase tuition and make adjustments in staffing. These changes have removed potential teachers from the pipeline and weakened training, monitoring and support of student teachers as they begin their careers.

In addition to its research findings, California's Teaching Force 2010: Key Issues and TrendsIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site calls for bold and creative action to address current challenges.

What makes this difficult for you is not knowing exactly when the state’s economy will improve, and what types of credentials will be needed, in which school districts.

Here are some actions you can take that could increase your marketability and help you weather the current budget shortfalls: