|July 15, 2005
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
The word on the street is wrong.
School administrators say that despite a popular misconception, a growing teaching shortage exists and there is a need for teachers. Statewide, educators are predicting a shortage of 300,000 teachers over the next 10 years.
The job prospects in Kern County are extremely high. “We’ll need to hire roughly 130 brand new teachers for the ’05-06 school year,” said Don Carter, Kern High School District superintendent. The KHSD plans to open Frontier High School in 2006, the first of five schools already in the works. Two additional schools will follow in 2008, another in 2010 and one in 2012. “If the growth continues,” Carter added, “we’ll be building more.”
The amount of needed teachers is due in part to growth. “We are the second fastest growing county in the state,” said Larry Reider, Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
Retirement is also a factor. “In California, we are expecting within three to five years to lose about 20 percent of the teacher workforce just to retirement alone,” said Margaret Gaston at the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. “Within 10 years, we expect to lose about 100,000 teachers.” Researchers at the non-profit center in Santa Cruz say that tidal wave of retirement puts the state on a course for disaster because there are not enough new teachers being trained to fill the vacancies.
The teacher shortage seems worse at the middle and high school level, where there is a growing number of students and not enough math and science teachers. “There is a tremendous need,” Carter said. “We are woefully short.”
Gatson agrees. “Under current conditions, about 40 percent of the teachers who teach eighth-grade algebra aren’t prepared to do so.”
Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is on board trying to address the shortage by possibly adding an additional $1million in funding and programs, “with the goal of graduating at least four times as many math and science teachers by the year 2010.”
Jean Fuller, superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District, said
K-8 school districts aren’t feeling the hiring strain as much. “In California 43 percent of districts are experiencing declining enrollment,”
she said. Fuller added the district plans to add two new schools at most within the next five years.
The need has been good for CSUB grads looking for their first job. “I get e-mails from students who have received job offers from various districts because they’re highly qualified,” said Pam Conners, CSUB liberal studies advising director. “I would estimate 85 (percent) to 90 percent of students find jobs after they graduate.”
Fuller said BCSD hires about 100 new teachers and five new administrators a year, and about 90 percent of her hires come from CSUB. “The graduates are very well trained in standards and technology,” Fuller said.
In 2004 the starting salary for a new teacher at the BCSD with no experience was $36,453. The district’s highest-paid teacher earned $70,855 with additional educational units and experience. New teachers with the KHSD earned a starting salary of $38,174. Their highest paid teacher earned $81,843 with additional educational units and experience.
“There are multiple pathways to getting your credential at CSUB,” said Curtis Guaglianone, dean of the CSUB School of Education. “And it doesn’t take that long.” A student can get a single subject credential in nine months. A multiple subject credential takes about a year including prerequisite work.
There are several requirements for students entering the credential program including passing the California Basic Education Skills Test
(CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). “This is one thing the CSU sees as very important,” Guaglianone stressed. “It’s important students pass the CSET before they get into the program. Some schools don’t require students to take the test until the very end, and then they don’t pass it. These students will go all the way through the program and not even know the basics.”
Avariety of credential programs are available at CSUB. Students can even get their bachelor’s degree and teaching credential in four years through the BBEST program. The Blended Baccalaureate for Excellence in Studies and Teaching program combines undergraduate subject matter with teaching courses in education.
The program has about 400 students enrolled for the 2005 fall quarter.
“There is a great deal of flexibility in the program,” Conners said. “A lot of our students work and are still able to go through the program.”
Lindsay Haney, a CSUB junior BBEST student agrees. “The schedule isn’t difficult,” she said. “Everything is done in a timely manner. You are able to take credential classes with core classes. You can apply the techniques you learn here in the classroom.”