Sign up for the EdSource Symposium today! Registration ends September 28th

Credit: Alison Yin for EdSource Today

Enrollments in teacher preparation programs in California are continuing to decline at a precipitous rate, according to new figures from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

In the 2012-13 school year, the last year for which figures are available, enrollments in teacher preparation programs dropped to 19,933 – down 53 percent from 2008-09. Over an 11-year period, enrollments have declined by 74 percent, from a high of 77,700 in 2001-02.

The commission will review the figures along with its “Annual Report Card on California Teacher Preparation” at its meeting in Sacramento on Friday.

The declining enrollments are coming at an especially challenging time for California schools. The state’s nearly 1,000 school districts are embarking on a slew of new reforms – including the Common Core standards, the New Generation Science Standards, Smarter Balanced assessments and focusing on several new “priority areas” specified in the state’s new school financing law – that will require a highly trained and enthusiastic workforce to ensure their success.

“It is becoming quite alarming now,” said Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who is also chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. “Our capacity is much impaired to what it once was to get new teachers with the kind of recruitment incentives we had, to assist them with induction (teacher support) programs, and to retain them over their careers.”

Darling-Hammond said some of the enrollment declines are related to years of teacher layoffs due to the state’s budget crisis. “People don’t want to go into a profession where there are no jobs,” she said.

What also has not helped, she said, has been the push in recent years, as evidenced by the Vergara v. California ruling, to make it more difficult for teachers to get tenure, and making it easier to fire them, along with a national drive to link teacher evaluations to student test scores.

“The issue is not whether we can fire people, but whether we can bring people into the profession who are adequately prepared, and who are supported through good mentoring in becoming effective teachers before they are tenured,” she said. “If we can do that, this whole issue of teacher evaluation would become a trivial issue.”

She said the declines in enrollment have forced programs to reduce faculty and staff, and some have closed their doors completely – with potentially long-term consequences for the state. “Our capacity to produce teachers has been affected by the decline,” she said.

Some hard-to-fill areas have been especially hard hit. She pointed to an “acute shortage” of math and science teachers. Regarding a shortage of special education teachers, she said “it is almost a five-alarm fire.”

She said more than a quarter of special education positions are being filled “with people who are not qualified.” “No one is able to be very selective,” she said.

One bright spot in the enrollment figures is that a growing percentage of students in teacher preparation programs are from minority backgrounds, although they are still a long way from reflecting the student population in California, which is 25 percent white. Fifty-one percent of those in teacher preparation programs in 2012-13 are white – down from 57 percent in 2008-09.

The number of teaching credentials issued in California is also declining, although not as precipitously as enrollments. In 2012-13, just over 12,000 teachers received a teaching credential, down from 17,797  in 2008-09. That was the ninth consecutive year in which the total number of initial teaching credentials in the state  has declined.

Given the size and diversity of California’s public school system, it is not clear what impact these numbers are having on hiring in individual districts.

John Gray, president of School Services of California, a leading Sacramento-based education consulting firm, said that some of the tens of thousands of teachers who were laid off during the recession are being rehired by districts and are helping to blunt the impact of declining number of new teachers entering the labor force.  “We are not seeing evidence of broad shortages, but lack of new graduates protends problems as our teaching force ages,” said Gray.

Phillip Pérez, superintendent of the Little Lake School District in Santa Fe Springs  near Whittier, said that it is becoming more difficult to fill certain positions. One that is still vacant is a special education specialist position, and the district has had to advertise on edjoin.org to generate applicants. “We have had to struggle to find someone to fill that vacancy,” he said. “Even two or three years ago, there was a glut on the market (as a result of layoffs). Now all those people have been hired.”

Pia Wong, chairwoman of the Department of Teaching Credentials at Sacramento State University, said she is seeing some hopeful signs in response to the improving economy and the significant easing of  layoffs. Teacher preparation programs at Sacramento State get daily inquiries from prospective candidates, Wong said, a distinct change from previous years. School districts that partner with her program are recruiting earlier in the year to fill potential openings, a sign of growing demand. Some districts are actively working with Sacramento State’s credentialing programs to get more teachers in the pipeline.

While the number of teachers getting pink slips has shrunk dramatically, “it may take some time for the shift to register with the general public and prospective teachers,” Wong said.

She said that criticisms in some quarters of the Common Core state standards and the Smarter Balanced tests that students will take this spring are “contributing to concerns about the working conditions of teachers.”

Wong said that she and her colleagues have been working on strategies to reverse the enrollment declines, and that in some ways the conditions to do so are more favorable than in the past. “Districts are not financially strapped, the Common Core gives us a shared project to work on, and many district and school leaders are thinking proactively about how to shape the next generation of teachers,” she said.

One key element will be working closely with districts to ensure that novice teachers emerge with the skills that districts need – and that they get good student teaching placements and the support they need once they start teaching.

But Wong said a key obstacle is the financial burden on teachers-in-training. For example, they must spend almost an entire semester student teaching and then take classes at night – making it almost impossible to work during that time. “If there could be a way to ease the financial burden on these candidates, that would greatly increase those interested in pursuing teaching,” Wong said.

 


Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comments Policy

The goal of the comments section on EdSource is to facilitate thoughtful conversation about content published on our website. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

Expand Comments
Collapse Comments
  1. Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

    Why is it that efforts to address the supposed coming teacher shortage do not focus on making teaching more humane, attractive and satisfying so that it essentially sells itself as a profession? Emphasis is on "recruitment" (i.e. doing a sales job on prospects) and "alternative pathways" (i.e. lowering standards of training for entry into the profession.) Is anyone being honest with the prospects? Is anyone telling them that California has the worst staffing ratios … Read More

    Why is it that efforts to address the supposed coming teacher shortage do not focus on making teaching more humane, attractive and satisfying so that it essentially sells itself as a profession?

    Emphasis is on “recruitment” (i.e. doing a sales job on prospects) and “alternative pathways” (i.e. lowering standards of training for entry into the profession.)

    Is anyone being honest with the prospects? Is anyone telling them that California has the worst staffing ratios in the nation for teachers, school administrators, counselors and others? That California’s student to teacher ratio for high schools is DOUBLE the national average? That CA per pupil spending ranges from near bottom to bottom of the nation?

    Is anyone telling the new teacher prospects that in the next California recession they are likely to be laid off (as in the last recession, 30,000 teachers) and jobless regardless of how capable they are, as a result of LIFO policies?

    Is it surprising that it is hard to find teachers willing to teach in the Bay Area when on the salaries offered the prospects cannot to afford to live anywhere that is convenient and safe?

    Is it surprising that it is hard to find highly qualified STEM grads willing to teach under such circumstances when statistics show that they do much better financially in other non-teaching STEM jobs?

    Are you going to tell them about California charter school teacher “churn and burn?”

    What are you going to tell them? Is it going to be the truth? The whole truth? Or are you just going to polish up your salesmanship?

  2. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    From the SFGate article linked in today's EdSource update: (Actually, the link will take you to a very nice recipe for squash pancakes, but if you click on the "news" button you can find the article.) "A long-predicted teacher shortage has hit several Bay Area school districts this year, resulting in stiff competition for qualified candidates and more classrooms in the hands of temporary or emergency teachers who lack full credentials. A combination of teacher retirements, high attrition … Read More

    From the SFGate article linked in today’s EdSource update:

    (Actually, the link will take you to a very nice recipe for squash pancakes, but if you click on the “news” button you can find the article.)

    “A long-predicted teacher shortage has hit several Bay Area school districts this year, resulting in stiff competition for qualified candidates and more classrooms in the hands of temporary or emergency teachers who lack full credentials.
    A combination of teacher retirements, high attrition rates, lack of new recruits and increased competition among districts in a postrecession economy has flip-flopped the education job market, school officials say.
    “It’s become an employees’ market versus an employers’ market,” said Scott Gaiber, San Francisco Unified director of certificated staffing and recruitment. “There is a lot more competition for talent.”
    Fewer people want to be teachers now, and that’s a big part of the problem. In 2008, there were almost 45,000 people enrolled in teacher preparation programs in California. By 2013, there were fewer than 20,000, according to the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
    “That’s fewer teacher candidates enrolled,” said Mary Vixie Sandy, executive director of the commission. “That’s significant in terms of supply.”

    It does appear the “projected” shortages are more than just theoretical.

    Replies

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      It’s ok, I’m sure we can just change the definition of qualified teacher..

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        I just want to point out that the number of people training has little bearing on whether or not they are "qualified" or high quality applicants. And I'd like to point out that there's a key number missing from the article: the number of expected available positions for new teachers each year. I'm going to shout this, because it's important. IT IS NOT A GOOD THING TO TRAIN PEOPLE FOR JOBS THAT DON'T EXIST. If we have 17,000 … Read More

        I just want to point out that the number of people training has little bearing on whether or not they are “qualified” or high quality applicants.

        And I’d like to point out that there’s a key number missing from the article: the number of expected available positions for new teachers each year.

        I’m going to shout this, because it’s important.

        IT IS NOT A GOOD THING TO TRAIN PEOPLE FOR JOBS THAT DON’T EXIST.

        If we have 17,000 teacher openings a year, then that’s exactly how many people we need to graduate. Not 40,000 and then 23,000 people just lose out with a credential they can’t use.

        We see this actually in Ph.D. programs all the time, where highly trained, talented people emerge from the process targeting them for academic jobs… and then they have to sit around and hope someone retires.

        Now, whether the applicant pool is or isn’t dropping in quality is a totally different question. Truly, it could go either way.

        • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

          My point was when we lack supply, we tend to increase it by changing what we're looking for. Andrews anecdote is an example of that. The redefinition of federal high quality was another. If this becomes a real issue I expect alternative routes to be increased (not to say one way or another at this point whether that is good or bad) as well as potential lowering of bars for entry (eg, TFA etc). I … Read More

          My point was when we lack supply, we tend to increase it by changing what we’re looking for. Andrews anecdote is an example of that. The redefinition of federal high quality was another. If this becomes a real issue I expect alternative routes to be increased (not to say one way or another at this point whether that is good or bad) as well as potential lowering of bars for entry (eg, TFA etc).
          I do agree its good to regulate supply to some extent though I don’t know that we do a good job of that in general. The high ‘dropout rate’ for teachers also complicates that. It would be interesting to figure out how to combat that (I expect adequate staffing and funding would be a huge first step).

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            Do new teachers recognize that they were conned into the profession in CA and leave it as reality sinks in, accounting for the high teacher "drop out" rate? I don't see anyone putting adequate starting salaries and stable initial employment on the table in CA to entice new entrants into the profession, not to mention favorable, supportive working conditions productive of good morale. But the calls are out for increased recruitment. So what … Read More

            Do new teachers recognize that they were conned into the profession in CA and leave it as reality sinks in, accounting for the high teacher “drop out” rate?

            I don’t see anyone putting adequate starting salaries and stable initial employment on the table in CA to entice new entrants into the profession, not to mention favorable, supportive working conditions productive of good morale. But the calls are out for increased recruitment. So what does “recruitment” mean? Does it mean honing our skills at misleading potential entrants? Doing better at hiding downsides and hiding the likelihood of future layoffs? Dipping lower into the ranks of the more cognitively challenged who are easier to con? Is anyone out there telling the credential prospects the truth up front, the whole truth, about what being a teacher in this state really entails with its gross underfunding of education? Are many of those leaving in the first years doing so because they realize that they have been had? Who would that leave?

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            The irony is if vergara stands, the incentive for teacher turnover will increase. Not because they are bad, but because it will become easier to blame them for everything and firing will give the impression of 'doing something'. However that would only manifest with sufficient replacements. With the decreased incentive to go into teaching created by the threat of vergara, the dwindling applicant pool might become even more meager and ill-equipped in which case teacher … Read More

            The irony is if vergara stands, the incentive for teacher turnover will increase. Not because they are bad, but because it will become easier to blame them for everything and firing will give the impression of ‘doing something’. However that would only manifest with sufficient replacements. With the decreased incentive to go into teaching created by the threat of vergara, the dwindling applicant pool might become even more meager and ill-equipped in which case teacher turnover would likely even drop, but then at the expense of quality.
            I agree that the thing that is missing is professional incentive. But we seem headed in in the opposite direction from that at the moment

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      Had that problem in our region. They were advertising for several slots with entry pay per schedule of $32,000. Nobody applied, so emergency credentials were issued and the slots were filled. Must be a big shortage of qualified credentialed candidates. Better recruit a lot more into credential programs and issue a lot more credentials to solve the problem.

      • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

        California won’t have enough teachers to lay off in the coming recession cycle if recruitment into credential programs is not boosted.

  3. Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

    What will be the role of a teacher in education settings in the future? Suitability of candidates may depend on the form and function. Will teaching continue to be what it is? Should it? Is there something better? What do we see in education if we time travel back to the American colonial era? We might see a colonial village which had only one learned person, the … Read More

    What will be the role of a teacher in education settings in the future? Suitability of candidates may depend on the form and function. Will teaching continue to be what it is? Should it? Is there something better?

    What do we see in education if we time travel back to the American colonial era? We might see a colonial village which had only one learned person, the school teacher. And the only educational resources might be a few precious books, concentrated at the site of the colonial schoolhouse. The colonial student could acquire education only listening to the words emanating from the human school teacher, or by perusing those few books. The school teacher and books had to be kept in a central place, a schoolhouse, and those wanting or needed an education had to go there.

    The form and function of our educational system has evolved from this. Has it really evolved that much away from it? Or are we still stuck in it? Should we be? The centrality of an ostensibly learned person and some books, in a place called a schoolhouse. It has gotten more structured. Bells ring. Pupils stream.

    Today’s world is radically different than the colonial world. Unlimited information, and potentially unlimited education, is available anywhere, free. One can learn without sitting at the knee of the sole learned person in the village.

    It was scary when my wife and I were pioneering homeschoolers, asking some of the questions above, not knowing what the outcomes would be. We worried that we would ruin our kids by abandoning the long traditional form and function. We picked a setting. An inexpensive cabin in a high mountain valley bounded by high peaks, a short walk from a meadow, a trout stream, and hiking trails.

    We determined to read interesting books to the kids a lot, and get them to love reading, to get them curious and loving learning, and exposed to nature in relaxed settings. We didn’t believe that kids were meant to sit in rows of hard plastic chairs for hours in a day, for days on end, or ever, or that education should occur that way, that it should be punctuated by bells. When, e.g., the kids wanted to know more about physics, they’d kick back on a couch and watch a video series by physicist Richard Feynman, then go out and hike or look for flowers. We took to heart an electrifying essay by NY state teacher of the year, John Taylor Gatto:

    http://www.newciv.org/whole/schoolteacher.txt

    We did lots wrong that we would do differently. We were inept in many ways. But the results were exceptional. The love of learning drew the kids through their educations to the highest levels, with excellence and discipline.

    Is there a way of rethinking how it is all done in public education, using all our technology, making it better for the students and much more humane for the teachers? More like we did it, but better? Can we re-write the job descriptions for public school teachers to something much more enjoyable?

  4. CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

    Huh? I never rejected Lowell for any reason, including for being too "formal education" and CERTAINLY not for being "too Asian" -- where did THAT come from? Both my kids were accepted to Lowell and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, and both chose SOTA on their own. Definitely demanding a retraction on that one, "Floyd." Read More

    Huh? I never rejected Lowell for any reason, including for being too “formal education” and CERTAINLY not for being “too Asian” — where did THAT come from? Both my kids were accepted to Lowell and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, and both chose SOTA on their own. Definitely demanding a retraction on that one, “Floyd.”

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Maybe you're an exception but whites are running from Asian schools. I thought it was impossible to be accepted into both but maybe it has changed recently. I've heard from many rich whites whose kids go to private schools that despite Lowell being better in terms of academics and average SAT Scores, they feel private schools have connections and can get them into better colleges, which shows how Asians are held back by … Read More

      Maybe you’re an exception but whites are running from Asian schools. I thought it was impossible to be accepted into both but maybe it has changed recently. I’ve heard from many rich whites whose kids go to private schools that despite Lowell being better in terms of academics and average SAT Scores, they feel private schools have connections and can get them into better colleges, which shows how Asians are held back by corrupt college admission standards. Colleges seeking the best should be able to realize Lowell has bad counselors but track how well kids do there and give a plus to make up for expensive counselors only the rich can afford. Whites are avoiding schools for being not good enough, but also for being too good. You can’t win if you’re not white. It’s not right.

      I was agreeing with your main point. America doesn’t like to highlight the connection between grades and income, SAT and income, college admissions and income. It likes to find the one exception and highlight that. Despite education being the best predictor of income, we seek out anecdotal stories to the contrary.

      I feel you like to make a point of criticizing Lowell sometimes, telling the story to try to say it’s not the best, my kids got in and rejected it. A lot in SF like to find one case like this to make it seem like it’s a typical situation in say, suburban Minnesota, this school is better at X, this school is better at Y, it’s complex, in some ways Lincoln is better, in some ways Washington. It wasn’t set up that way, they chose one school you were supposed to credit as the one the best students went to. I agree SOTA is a grey area because if you love the arts, SOTA is better at the arts, but there is no confusion between Lowell and any other school, but many teachers and parents try to claim that Lowell isn’t any better than Lincoln and that Lowell admissions are random rather than a test of work ethic, character, intelligence and discipline.

      It’s similar with Cupertino, San Ramon, Mission Fremont. Whites generally don’t give these schools credit for high API schools. When whites had the top scoring schools, scores were seen as crucial, but once whites started losing this battle with schools in Orinda, Marin, Woodside and other rich areas not scoring as high as the aforementioned schools, suddenly it became balance, arts, sports, going out with friends, the happiness index. Whites still control almost all of the media so when they lose, they change the game. Oh, you won at baseball, we were playing golf, lower score wins. It’s silly. They don’t give credit where credit is due. SI loses to Lowell in every academic measure but you still hear the parents of kids who don’t get in try to exalt SI over Lowell despite a complete absence of any facts. When I was growing up, in baseball, basketball, football, you lose, you shake the other team’s hand and say good game. Whites are being poor losers.

      • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

        "Floyd," it is possible and very common for SFUSD students to be accepted to both Lowell and SOTA. You're misinformed if you were told that wasn't the case. (My kids were accepted to both for fall '05 and fall '08.) I'm a supporter and admirer of Lowell, so you have me confused with someone else entirely if you think I've criticized it. And I vigorously refute any notion that I would object to my kids … Read More

        “Floyd,” it is possible and very common for SFUSD students to be accepted to both Lowell and SOTA. You’re misinformed if you were told that wasn’t the case. (My kids were accepted to both for fall ’05 and fall ’08.)

        I’m a supporter and admirer of Lowell, so you have me confused with someone else entirely if you think I’ve criticized it. And I vigorously refute any notion that I would object to my kids going to school with Asian students (or students of any race — their elementary and middle schools were heavily Asian, as were and are many of their friends. If I could transcribe sputtering with outrage into a blog comment form, I would be doing so.

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          I apologize Caroline, I mixed you up with other comments from other people, you're right. I was told my daughter couldn't get into both in '12, though I don't think she got into SOTA, they wouldn't tell us. She tried for dance. She wanted to be a Cheerleader and would have chosen Lowell, but they didn't tell us. You're right, you didn't say that. I've heard it from many people … Read More

          I apologize Caroline, I mixed you up with other comments from other people, you’re right. I was told my daughter couldn’t get into both in ’12, though I don’t think she got into SOTA, they wouldn’t tell us. She tried for dance. She wanted to be a Cheerleader and would have chosen Lowell, but they didn’t tell us. You’re right, you didn’t say that. I’ve heard it from many people who object to Lowell.

          I do feel the parents who try to claim SI is better than Lowell are saying they admire old money more than personal determination and scholarship, and care more about race and culture than stats like API, ACT and SAT Averages, and the general attitude towards Lowell and Ivy League Schools and Asian achievement is evidence of the anti-intellectual/formal education attitude most Americans have, as well as the lack of admiration for said efforts. It has been shown that Asians need 140 more SAT points to make the Ivy League than do whites. Great students should be admired.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd, what do you mean they wouldn’t tell you? She either passed the audition or she didn’t. They don’t keep it a secret otherwise there would be no point to having auditions.You have to pass so you can write it in as the first choice when applying to SFUSD. If she also got the points for Lowell at that point she’d have to decide which she wanted to attend and write that one down first.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Caroline, that is not correct currently. I suspect that what you mean is that your children had enough points to go to Lowell if they had put it first on their application,but also passed the audition at SOTA. As you can see from the excerpt below (from SFUSD) you can't get accepted into both currently and then choose one to enroll in. Perhaps the process was different under the former SAS, but I doubt it … Read More

          Caroline, that is not correct currently. I suspect that what you mean is that your children had enough points to go to Lowell if they had put it first on their application,but also passed the audition at SOTA. As you can see from the excerpt below (from SFUSD) you can’t get accepted into both currently and then choose one to enroll in. Perhaps the process was different under the former SAS, but I doubt it because it would have caused all sorts of problems for SFUSD.

          Lowell Selection Process

          There is no sibling priority for Lowell. All students must meet entrance criteria to receive an assignment offer.

          All applications for Lowell are reviewed, and students who meet entry criteria are identified prior to the general assignment run for the first placement round. Qualifying students who list Lowell as the first choice school will receive an assignment offer to Lowell. Those who qualify but list another school as a higher choice than Lowell will go into the assignment run. If they receive a placement into a higher choice school, they will not receive an offer to Lowell but to the higher choice school instead. Therefore, it is important to list your choices of schools by preference.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            This changed recently. They would tell you but you would only get a letter of acceptance from one school now. You could know you got into both. When Caroline’s kids got in, you could receive an acceptance letter from Lowell and another one from SOTA and then you could choose. The decisions were carefully tracked and were almost exactly 50/50. A lot of people in SF love arts.

  5. Karen 2 years ago2 years ago

    Who would want to work in a school environment that has reduced teaching to a non profession, introduced a very damaging curriculum and maintains that teachers are responsible for the differences in ability of students that only nature can bestow and parents can enhance. There was no problem with most of our previous schools, curriculum or teachers. Only variation in ability and performance and the incorrect idea that every child has the same ability to succeed in school.

    Replies

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      Always felt sorry for educators, expected to live the lie that students are essentially cognitively identical blank slates waiting to be writ upon and made genius by magician educators. Never mind the neurological truth that IQ's vary widely, are relatively fixed for life, and below certain IQ levels there is little or no possibility for critical thinking or independent learning. IQ is essentially an index of reasoning ability, which is … Read More

      Always felt sorry for educators, expected to live the lie that students are essentially cognitively identical blank slates waiting to be writ upon and made genius by magician educators. Never mind the neurological truth that IQ’s vary widely, are relatively fixed for life, and below certain IQ levels there is little or no possibility for critical thinking or independent learning. IQ is essentially an index of reasoning ability, which is pretty hard to distinguish from critical thinking.

  6. Kathryn 2 years ago2 years ago

    This article makes some good points about the decline in enrollments in teacher preparation program: teacher layoffs, Common Core, and the absurd amount of testing in classrooms. What the article fails to mention are two things that makes me question becoming a teacher: the lack of respect for the teaching profession in general and the fact that educational cost to become a teacher is not commensurate with the pay. The lack of respect for the profession, … Read More

    This article makes some good points about the decline in enrollments in teacher preparation program: teacher layoffs, Common Core, and the absurd amount of testing in classrooms. What the article fails to mention are two things that makes me question becoming a teacher: the lack of respect for the teaching profession in general and the fact that educational cost to become a teacher is not commensurate with the pay.
    The lack of respect for the profession, in part, comes from the media. Rarely does the media report positive news about the teaching profession. More often than not we are bombarded by negative media reporting when a teacher gets caught doing something wrong. Teachers are people too. There are good ones and bad ones and then the really bad ones that make the news. Yet instead of reporting it and moving on, the negative reporting becomes the top news story for days breeding distrust of teachers in the public’s eye.
    Teacher pay is a huge problem in terms of educational cost vs employment compensation. It costs more than one year of a teachers salary to pay for the education needed to become a teacher. That is a huge burden. Combine the cost of the education with the lack of respect for teachers, the ever increasing student testing and teacher accountability, and the fact that there is little opportunity to ever achieve a decent salary, one might be able to see why there is a lack of interest in teacher preparation programs.
    Why would someone wants to become a teacher only to wear a target on their back?

  7. Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

    Not too long ago I remember reading that our nation has a surplus of lawyers. I recollect that lawyers are having a hard time finding jobs. Somehow this is not deterring more people from training to become lawyers. I would guess they were at least seeking the perceived financial rewards. Or maybe it's because there are self employment options for lawyers. Given all the teachers who quit within 5 years … Read More

    Not too long ago I remember reading that our nation has a surplus of lawyers. I recollect that lawyers are having a hard time finding jobs. Somehow this is not deterring more people from training to become lawyers. I would guess they were at least seeking the perceived financial rewards. Or maybe it’s because there are self employment options for lawyers. Given all the teachers who quit within 5 years they must be reusing their education for other good purposes. Is it time to highlight the fact that teacher training can be a more general purpose education?

    Replies

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      Good observations, Paul. Some thoughts as a lawyer and perhaps some parallels to aspects of teacher education. If you pursue a medical education, the education involves a couple of years of academic medicine, a couple of years of practical rotations in clinical medicine, and a period of residency with more clinical medicine. In contrast, law school, despite some minimal and token clinical credits, is nearly all academic and involves no truly … Read More

      Good observations, Paul. Some thoughts as a lawyer and perhaps some parallels to aspects of teacher education. If you pursue a medical education, the education involves a couple of years of academic medicine, a couple of years of practical rotations in clinical medicine, and a period of residency with more clinical medicine. In contrast, law school, despite some minimal and token clinical credits, is nearly all academic and involves no truly useful practical training. Nor is there really anything comparable to a medical residency in law where the practical training can be systematically obtained. So the practical legal training takes place (or doesn’t take place) in the initial years of employment working for a law firm, very long hours at relatively modest compensation in return for the education. The “crisis” in legal employment these days is that there are way more graduates from the academic law programs than there are clinical training slots in law firms where new lawyers can actually learn to practice real law. I personally don’t know any skillful lawyers who have attained full academic and clinical qualifications who have any trouble finding employment or work. But many who lack skills, practical expertise and training are unemployed and underemployed and will never break in.

      What has happened is this and it may have parallels in teacher education. Practicing real law is hard and stressful. Many have discovered that teaching law is infinitely easier and very profitable. Unlike medical schools which require extensive labs and equipment, law schools just need mostly rooms, bodies, chairs. So there is a proliferation of law schools. Prospective law students are recruited, induced to sign for huge student loans, and run through the mills with outrageous tuition, tens of thousands per year. Many students are cognitively unqualified and not well suited to the profession, but that doesn’t stop the recruitment. The result is major unemployment for the law students who can’t find that first clinical training and an easy and very profitable life for those who run and staff the schools. Legal education has typically been a cash cow, though there is some panic in the ranks with so much unemployment scaring students. It is essentially a scam. Google “Law School Scam”. One of the most skilled lawyers I ever knew was a highly intelligent pharmacist who went through a correspondence law school and thoroughly taught himself law for very little outlay, and then clawed his way through enough experience.

      There is talk of a teacher shortage in California. But mid-west states like Illinois produce ten teachers for every in-state job opening. Doubtless California admins will resume recruiting out of state and scamming those questionably qualified grads into coming here to be laid off when the next round of layoffs hits.

  8. wendy 2 years ago2 years ago

    Interestingly, the one thing that probably is instrumental in causing the numbers of teachers in credential programs to plummet is missing from this article: the constant drumroll of teacher bashing for the last 6 years. Might this be the reason. Ya think?

    Replies

  9. Jeff Camp 2 years ago2 years ago

    "Plummets" makes it sound as if this decline is new or unexpected; actually, the real news would have been any increase or even a lack of decline. Enrollment has been on a slow, steady slide for many years. A picture paints a thousand more words here: http://ed100.org/teachers/prepare/ That the decline has been steady and gradual should not comfort us. I hope that Pia Wong is correct and things are about to get better. I would … Read More

    “Plummets” makes it sound as if this decline is new or unexpected; actually, the real news would have been any increase or even a lack of decline. Enrollment has been on a slow, steady slide for many years. A picture paints a thousand more words here: http://ed100.org/teachers/prepare/

    That the decline has been steady and gradual should not comfort us. I hope that Pia Wong is correct and things are about to get better. I would feel better about it if I heard better reports more often about the teacher preparation process. It seems difficult to find anyone who will rave about how wonderfully they were prepared for the classroom and how much value they took from filling out BTSA forms.

  10. Max 2 years ago2 years ago

    One thing not mentioned is the expiration of the teaching credential if it isn't "cleared" within 5 years. Since the credential is virtually impossible to clear without employment, tens thousands of credentials have expired and tens thousands of newly trained teachers have been completely driven from the profession. This shortage was entirely predictable, and I fear it will turn into a crisis that will be exploited by the privatization movement. Ironic that CTA support of … Read More

    One thing not mentioned is the expiration of the teaching credential if it isn’t “cleared” within 5 years. Since the credential is virtually impossible to clear without employment, tens thousands of credentials have expired and tens thousands of newly trained teachers have been completely driven from the profession.

    This shortage was entirely predictable, and I fear it will turn into a crisis that will be exploited by the privatization movement. Ironic that CTA support of measures that limit new entrants into the profession will empower the very forces attacking it.

  11. Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

    The California economy has improved. Until the next recession hits. Which may be sooner rather than later. The seeds of recession seem already to be germinating, since nobody seems to have learned much from the last one. The administrative side of things obviously prefers a large oversupply of teachers and seems to panic when supply threatens to be anything close to demand. In a real pinch, it might become necessary … Read More

    The California economy has improved. Until the next recession hits. Which may be sooner rather than later. The seeds of recession seem already to be germinating, since nobody seems to have learned much from the last one.

    The administrative side of things obviously prefers a large oversupply of teachers and seems to panic when supply threatens to be anything close to demand. In a real pinch, it might become necessary to provide good working conditions and morale for existing teachers and to pay them adequately to recruit and retain them rather than banking on an oversupply to force teacher employment in sub-optimal conditions.

    Since California is not interested in providing good working conditions productive of good morale and providing adequate compensation and reasonable job security from layoffs for newer teachers, other approaches will be needed to maintain the desired supply. Quickie teacher-lite alternative credential programs will pop up, for-profit diploma mills will ramp up, advertise on billboards, pass out student loan apps and ultimately credentials, and quality standards will be ditched or ignored. Credulous and not overly cognitively gifted candidates will fall prey to sales pitches from the for-profits and the quality unconscious admins. In a couple of years they will have tenure and then guaranteed lifetime teaching employment.

    Are we just trying to do a sales job on them, or will anyone be truthful with the potential candidates about what they might really expect working in California public education? That they may well be roadkill from LIFO and unemployed in the next recession. To cut and past from my post below, won’t they face?: “The worst student to teacher ratios in the country; near the worst per pupil funding in the US; low starting salary schedules that shortchange new teachers so the oldest teachers can be overpaid, though all do the same work; LIFO policies so that younger teachers are always laid off first no matter how good they are and no matter how poor senior teachers are; teacher layoffs expected at every recession, with waves of recessions expected indefinitely; bad funding in the absence of recessions and worse funding in recessions; constant loading with additional requirements and expectations; poor and worsening teacher morale; poor and worsening working conditions; ugly architecturally uninspired facilities and often trashy temporary classrooms; inadequate learning materials, resources and technology; inadequate administrative support with the worst student/administrator ratios in the county; inadequate librarian, psychologist, behavioral specialist, counselor, nurse support due to the worst ratios; inadequate student discipline structures; and much more . . .”

    Who, who hasn’t credulously succumbed to a sales job, would want to pursue credentialing unless these bad things really change?

    Replies

    • Kathryn 2 years ago2 years ago

      Well said Andrew! Salary not commensurate with the cost of education and teacher preparation and the lack of respect for the profession……you said it all.

  12. Jerry Heverly 2 years ago2 years ago

    This should be good news for me since teacher wages are subject to supply and demand. I suspect this might also lead to one of those alternative credentialing programs that they have in other states. I realize the unions will oppose such but if supply gets too low I’d bet that would create enough pressure to pass such a bill.

    Replies

    • Nick Laskowski 2 years ago2 years ago

      Interesting thought: In general, teachers do not seem subject to ordinary labor market forces, since funding for teacher salaries is based on student enrollment and the state tax base, which do not vary proportionately with teacher supply.

  13. Herb 2 years ago2 years ago

    Is this any surprise? The reformy disruptors have spent hundreds of millions of dollars convincing the public that teachers are the root of all evil and the source of what ails America. Why on earth would anyone enter this profession right now?

    Every teacher in the US should walk out the door tomorrow and not return for a week. Let’s see what the privatizers think at that point.

    Replies

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      Maybe they’d just suggest replacing them with spare air traffic controllers..

    • Amy Jones 2 years ago2 years ago

      I agree,

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      Herb, teachers certainly have a right to strike and after many years without pay raises they should get a share of the LCFF funding that hopefully will be delivered in larger quantities over the next 7 years, barring a recession which is already overdue if history is any judge. But teacher strikes are very divisive due to the hardship it creates for families. When it comes to teacher vs. student needs, what some … Read More

      Herb, teachers certainly have a right to strike and after many years without pay raises they should get a share of the LCFF funding that hopefully will be delivered in larger quantities over the next 7 years, barring a recession which is already overdue if history is any judge. But teacher strikes are very divisive due to the hardship it creates for families.

      When it comes to teacher vs. student needs, what some consider a false dynamic, it cannot be denied that increased pay vs., let’s say, smaller class sizes or more counselors, puts that dynamic in stark relief as to who are the winners and losers in these wage wars.

      Without higher overall funding that will put a stop to the triage, having to pick winners and losers, teachers will come out of a strike more damaged if not slightly less poor. However,if they were seen as providing some compromise on LIFO or tenure, barring a final court decision, I think any highly publicized strike would be viewed more favorably in the public eye.

      Just as I agree that you cannot fire your way to Finland, which is often cited but is an apples to oranges comparison IME, you also cannot tax your way to Finland, though that doesn’t preclude SOME new taxes – an oil production tax for example. But we need to just about double ed dollars in California and we cannot impose $50B in new taxes over the length of the LCFF roll-out without sinking as a state. Our entitlements and obligations have grown beyond all reason. We should not have to choose between teachers and students whose purposes are integrally linked, but instead between our social services/safety net and education. Some say we are a rich state, but we’ve outgrown our capacity to provide a full service social democrat state model. Is there any other reasonable solution, I ask you?

      • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

        Don, I keep waiting for you to finally post a less than optimally reasoned such as the rest of us at least occasionally lapse into and it hasn’t happened yet! I’m gonna have to try to talk you into homeschooling. Couldn’t imagine anyone inspiring sounder education.

  14. CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

    Teachers are pretty much heaped with constant hostility these days -- teachers as a profession -- all teachers -- not just "bad teachers." Which obviously is not beneficial for education. A deep streak of contempt for formal education is endemic to our culture, and the ongoing teacher-bashing feeds and feeds on that -- which is clearly not helpful to attempts to support and improve our educational system. What if EdSource actually took on combating that as … Read More

    Teachers are pretty much heaped with constant hostility these days — teachers as a profession — all teachers — not just “bad teachers.” Which obviously is not beneficial for education. A deep streak of contempt for formal education is endemic to our culture, and the ongoing teacher-bashing feeds and feeds on that — which is clearly not helpful to attempts to support and improve our educational system.

    What if EdSource actually took on combating that as a project?

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Caroline, do I have to believe it should take 5 steps and over 100k to fire any teacher, and that it is OK to call in sick if you are just taking a day off, in order to support teachers? I think most teachers are very good or at least good. However, we have to improve teacher effort and quality just as we have to improve student effort and parenting effort and quality. … Read More

      Caroline, do I have to believe it should take 5 steps and over 100k to fire any teacher, and that it is OK to call in sick if you are just taking a day off, in order to support teachers? I think most teachers are very good or at least good. However, we have to improve teacher effort and quality just as we have to improve student effort and parenting effort and quality. I don’t think it’s fair for you to say, you have to be a sucker and accept the status quo or you are bashing teachers. We tell the truth about teachers, that’s not bashing. A teacher at Presidio just was fired because he was sent there from a high school, Washington because it’s so hard to fire bad teachers. It’s not bashing teachers to point this out, it’s a fact. You never commented on the Berndt fiasco.

      I don’t bash all teachers automatically, but you support all teachers automatically, as does Gary.

      We need a system that evaluates all teachers based on effort and effectiveness and rewards them according to value add. We need teachers to convince kids and parents to work harder. We have a state where the average kid spends 40 hours a week and more on TV and games, and under 6 on studying and reading. Teachers are the ones who need to convince kids these habits lead to low income and a lifetime of minimal opportunity, interests and income. Just as doctors advise on diet and health habits and can promote longevity, teachers can do more to promote scholarship and academic excellence.

      It’s not an either or, support all teachers unquestioningly or you’re a teacher basher. Each teacher is an individual. We need to stop framing this debate in terms of support me 100% or you’re part of the problem. That’s too fascist or socialist for me. We all need to use our brains and expose truth in all it’s forms. We need to unite to get our education system improved. California was much better 50 years ago.

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      Teacher profession bashing is part of a political movement aimed at promoting privatization, charter, taxpayer and anti-union interests. It would be difficult for a media entity to become involved in that fracas without appearing politically biased, even if it were focused merely on trying to provide ‘accuracy’.

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      Caroline and others, to what do you attribute the hostility that you see directed at teachers these days? What are the ultimate roots of the hostility, not merely cascades of symptoms flowing from the roots? A few decades ago, I saw surveys identifying teaching as the most respected and admired profession. What has changed at the roots? As we consider this, does my parenthetically supplemented Hanlon's Razor have any application to … Read More

      Caroline and others, to what do you attribute the hostility that you see directed at teachers these days? What are the ultimate roots of the hostility, not merely cascades of symptoms flowing from the roots? A few decades ago, I saw surveys identifying teaching as the most respected and admired profession. What has changed at the roots?

      As we consider this, does my parenthetically supplemented Hanlon’s Razor have any application to the source of the attitudes in question: “Never attribute to malice (conspiracy?) that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

      • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

        ‘Malice does not exist. Only stupidity.’

        Personally I think it’s based in fear brought on by the increased diversity in our ‘world.’

        • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

          Does the fear have any rational basis, or is it irrational, or both? Is there an achievable solution in real life, or are things pretty hopeless?

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Fear is not rational in the first place so in that sense all fear is justified. :-) I think what you're actually asking is whether the characterization of the 'threat' and it's consequences are accurate. And I would add to that whether the proposed remedies would address it. Generally speaking, I'd say the answer to neither question is clearly yes. Without going on an endless monologue, probably the biggest thing that has changed 'in the last … Read More

            Fear is not rational in the first place so in that sense all fear is justified. 🙂

            I think what you’re actually asking is whether the characterization of the ‘threat’ and it’s consequences are accurate.

            And I would add to that whether the proposed remedies would address it.

            Generally speaking, I’d say the answer to neither question is clearly yes. Without going on an endless monologue, probably the biggest thing that has changed ‘in the last 50 years’ or since ‘the good ol’ days’ is not the quality of our teachers, but how we have extended our notion of opportunity to groups we’ve traditionally excluded. This is also happening in parallel to a rapid change in our demographic makeup (ironically locally exacerbated by a fear-based flight). Those things are challenging the traditional structures of our culture and from that perspective it is natural that it would be considered a threat. But I think putting that threat at the foot of ‘public schools’ and especially teachers is misplaced. I understand why it happens (it’s an easy answer and plays well to our individualist politics) but that doesn’t make it accurate.

            But maybe more importantly is whether our response to our fears is reasonable. Obviously to the extent our fears are misplaced they cannot be. However I think it’s often as or more interesting to look at the consistency between the claimed fear and the proposed response. We have a habit of over-reaching in our ‘solutions’. Again this is not surprising but that also doesn’t make it ok. It’s often a lot easier to challenge those inconsistencies than to argue about the foundation of political movements.

            Regardless, our media is extremely biased and in many ways. It is very difficult to accurately portray any issue anymore and still garner viewership.

        • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

          Uh, no, navigio, malice exists. I've seen it in multiple occasions. Oh, sure, you could say that malice is an expression of utter stupidity because it runs counter to the benefits of altruism, but then we would have to get into a philosophical discussion of all that. Nah, it is simpler to put it in starker terms: teacher bashing is in vogue because 1) teachers are about the only union left out there that touches … Read More

          Uh, no, navigio, malice exists. I’ve seen it in multiple occasions.

          Oh, sure, you could say that malice is an expression of utter stupidity because it runs counter to the benefits of altruism, but then we would have to get into a philosophical discussion of all that.

          Nah, it is simpler to put it in starker terms: teacher bashing is in vogue because 1) teachers are about the only union left out there that touches a significant segment of our population, and 2) there are political reasons to cut them down to a size where they can be put in a bathtub and drown them.

          Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who have gotten in the bandwagon because it is so easy to finally get revenge from sundry injuries, from the bully teacher that humiliated you when you could not recite your multiplication tables to the jerk in P.E. that questioned your manhood, without forgetting, of course, the “Dittos” of the world.

          No, we demand perfection from those in a profession that is highly demanding because they are in charge of our precious little darlings. We forget that they are human, too. (When my kids had a particularly bad teacher I pointed out to them that we would do what we could but that they will invariable encounter the same problem in college and, more importantly, real life. Better to learn early to work around the obstacles.)

          So, what happens? The simplest way to show that teachers are not perfect is to force kids to take standardized tests that, by their very nature, will show that 50% of kids are below average. Imagine that, not everyone can be “proficient” and it is those damn teachers’ fault! If they did not take those three months of summer vacation, if they did not work “only” six hours a day, if they only showed up to teach even when they are sick, if they even showed up for teacher conferences… well, you get the idea, our little darlings would have perfect scores if they were brought to heel!!

          So let’s fire them all and only hire those at the top of their class! And then we will “stack and rank” them and get rid of the bottom 10% every year! And, of course, let’s get rid of all that due process staff and make them at-will employees! That will put them on notice that they either get with the program or go into other profession!

          Oh, and let’s deport all those not here with proper documents. And let’s not spend more on education because, hey, we already are spending too much. And those writing education articles better start giving us articles that we agree on. And it just keeps going, especially if you read the comments in the LA Times…

          Malice, I may not be able to describe it, but I sure know it when I see it…

          (“where have you gone, Potter Stewart,
          our nation turns its incredulous eyes to you…”)

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            This is pretty similar to the media view on Israel. If you criticize the government bombing Palestinians or killing ten times as many Palestinians plus as Jews have been killed, or criticize the government of Israel in any way, you are anti-semitic. Likewise, if you criticize the status quo on teachers, or any facet of the seniority/tenure rules, or suggest any teacher ever calls in sick when they aren't, or criticize any teacher, … Read More

            This is pretty similar to the media view on Israel. If you criticize the government bombing Palestinians or killing ten times as many Palestinians plus as Jews have been killed, or criticize the government of Israel in any way, you are anti-semitic. Likewise, if you criticize the status quo on teachers, or any facet of the seniority/tenure rules, or suggest any teacher ever calls in sick when they aren’t, or criticize any teacher, you are Teacher Bashing.

            It’s basically saying, let’s not analyze the impact, obey me 100% or I’ll call you a name. That level of debate should end in Kindergarten. It’s silly.

            Personally, I’m against any plan to privatize all schools and wish all kids were in public schools as I feel private schools have been a key factor in preventing racial integration since Brown v. Topeka, as they are consistently more popular the more diverse i.e. nonwhite a school district is, public schools get over 95% of whites where over 80% of the population is white, and about half or less where the school population is under 60% white. I’m for higher pay and unions. I do support charter schools. But I do believe strongly the current system is unfair and doesn’t serve children well. In any profession, there must be pay incentives, promotion, lay offs, etc. It must be based on quality. It’s why waiters are better here than in Europe. People call in sick less when it could impact their reputation and a boss makes decisions. In private industry here, it is rare compared to France, where almost everyone has the same job guarantees as teachers do here. If there is no consequence to faking an illness or missing days with no explanation, it will happen.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Malice is the term we use because we hope people should know better. Alas, we are but mere mortals..

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Manuel, there are those of us who not willing let our children suffer through a whole year of a "particularly bad teacher" as you said - because they need to learn some kind of life lesson about imperfection (paraphrasing). That you are willing to acquiesce tells me that you have no interest in rooting out the particularly bad teachers and that you have capitulated to a system which you know is wrong but … Read More

            Manuel, there are those of us who not willing let our children suffer through a whole year of a “particularly bad teacher” as you said – because they need to learn some kind of life lesson about imperfection (paraphrasing). That you are willing to acquiesce tells me that you have no interest in rooting out the particularly bad teachers and that you have capitulated to a system which you know is wrong but refuse do anything about. I say “you know is wrong” because it is inconceivable that the schools can be successful with “particularly bad teachers”. The intersection of ones political views and personal experience don’t always meld. Apparently unlike you, I feel it is my responsibility to my child and my community to speak up when confronted with this problem. And I do, frequently. That is what I consider to be part of my job as a parent in the public schools – to help make them better – not capitulate to what I know is wrong. Children need adults to step up. Sorry, but with respect to your usually thoughtful remarks, in this case I cannot tolerate this kind of negligence.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            I should have added that it seems to me what you are saying is you'll do what you can do which means very little at all because you know you can't really get around the union protections. Since you don't want to make it easier to dismiss ineffective teachers by changing laws, instead, you can make your token effort while insisting the laws are not at fault its the people who don't enforce … Read More

            I should have added that it seems to me what you are saying is you’ll do what you can do which means very little at all because you know you can’t really get around the union protections. Since you don’t want to make it easier to dismiss ineffective teachers by changing laws, instead, you can make your token effort while insisting the laws are not at fault its the people who don’t enforce them, I.e. principals. I’m sure your little darlings will soon grow up to understand why you threw them under the bus.

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, you can spin it anyway you want to, but you have no idea who you are talking to. Suffice it to say that my little darlings are all adults now and none the worse for wear. Just dodged that Common Core bullet!!!

            BTW, you should take your own advice and stop treating this place as your own creative writing blog. Don’t you have one already? Oh, I get it. You think you get more reads here…

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Again, Manuel, that was uncalled for on my part in our exchange last night. I really stuck my foot in my mouth by calling you negligent. I should have said that if schools are to improve all teachers must demonstrate an on-going minimal competence, among other needed improvements, and that the current system does not effectively remove the ones that don't for reasons we disagree on. At least in this district, … Read More

            Again, Manuel, that was uncalled for on my part in our exchange last night. I really stuck my foot in my mouth by calling you negligent.

            I should have said that if schools are to improve all teachers must demonstrate an on-going minimal competence, among other needed improvements, and that the current system does not effectively remove the ones that don’t for reasons we disagree on. At least in this district, parents play an important role because when they complain, especially in groups, action is taken. Unfortunately, teachers are simply switched from a school to another ( dance of the lemons) instead of being dismissed due to the complexities involved with due process dismissal proceedings. This inevitably leads to the worst teachers getting the jobs no one else wants.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Check out the 2014 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll now, I believe, in its 45th year. A real "longitudinal" study. Public confidence in teachers remains high: 61% approval. Even Republicans come in at 58% approval. In what I consider a rather "crude" measure, the poll has the public rate schools on an A-F scale. Easily "understood" I guess, if nothing else. The ratings given by the public remain, over the 45 year course of data, … Read More

        Check out the 2014 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll now, I believe, in its 45th year. A real “longitudinal” study. Public confidence in teachers remains high: 61% approval. Even Republicans come in at 58% approval. In what I consider a rather “crude” measure, the poll has the public rate schools on an A-F scale. Easily “understood” I guess, if nothing else. The ratings given by the public remain, over the 45 year course of data, exceptionally high. The vast majority of people rate schools at an A or B. The ratings get higher as the people get closer to the schools, that is to say, parents and grand parents who have children/grandchildren actually in the school rate them a majority A. In fact, all the public rate schools geographically close to them very high. The more contact and pragmatic knowledge they have of the schools the better they like them.

        There comes a real shift when you go from public education (as in the local public schools) and then to Public Education (as in what is covered in the media) and it is pretty stark. The “if it bleeds it leads” nature of media narratives, not to mention alarmist propaganda, taints the polling and results in considerable differences between what people think of the local school and teachers and Education for everybody else.

        There is, obviously, more than a little cognitive dissonance going on here. Many people have commented that this is analogous to the publics opinions of Congress, with a general disdain for the institution but great respect for their local representative. There may be something to that suggestion.

        But, to the point, there has been no evidence of the general populous losing confidence in public schools or public school teachers.

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          Gary, I would reply yes if I were asked in a poll, do you approve of the job teachers are doing. Why? Because the vast majority are doing a good job and are underpaid. However, when I question the status quo and why bad teachers have ended up teaching my children half a dozen times, I am told I'm teacher bashing as if I'm making it up or there is no role … Read More

          Gary, I would reply yes if I were asked in a poll, do you approve of the job teachers are doing. Why? Because the vast majority are doing a good job and are underpaid. However, when I question the status quo and why bad teachers have ended up teaching my children half a dozen times, I am told I’m teacher bashing as if I’m making it up or there is no role the unions played in causing this to happen by fighting for the teacher and intimidating anyone from firing them. I’m part of the 61%, but I’m also part of the over 70% who feels Seniority should not be the determinant in lay offs and that it shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. I don’t oppose due process, but I oppose 5 rounds of due process and a cost of over 100k. I’ve seen how that hurts children. The more parents with the courage to speak out when this happens to them the sooner this will change.

      • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

        In response to Andrew's question: I think our culture -- our country's dominant culture -- has a deep streak of skepticism for and contempt about "formal education," so that certainly fuels and is in turn fueled by teacher-bashing. Also, there's a culture in many quarters -- and one embraced by powerful shapers of opinion -- of looking for ultra-simple answers to impossibly complicated problems (Bill Gates' notion some years ago that turning big schools into … Read More

        In response to Andrew’s question: I think our culture — our country’s dominant culture — has a deep streak of skepticism for and contempt about “formal education,” so that certainly fuels and is in turn fueled by teacher-bashing.

        Also, there’s a culture in many quarters — and one embraced by powerful shapers of opinion — of looking for ultra-simple answers to impossibly complicated problems (Bill Gates’ notion some years ago that turning big schools into small schools was THE solution is one example, though that’s also an example of what happens when a vast fortune backs up one man’s whimsical fancy). That culture feeds and promotes the checklist of policies promoted by education “reform,” and the No. 1 item on that list for a good long while has been blaming and punishing teachers.

        That may not explain it all, but that’s my take.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Or it may not explain any of it. Can you provide some background to your idea that the dominant culture has a deep-rooted skepticism of formal education. I don't think I've ever met a public school parent who didn't want their child to receive a good education, though some prefer it more formal than others. We may all imagine the public schools differently, but who in the dominant culture eschew's formal education? As … Read More

          Or it may not explain any of it. Can you provide some background to your idea that the dominant culture has a deep-rooted skepticism of formal education. I don’t think I’ve ever met a public school parent who didn’t want their child to receive a good education, though some prefer it more formal than others. We may all imagine the public schools differently, but who in the dominant culture eschew’s formal education?

          As for Gates, I know you like to stick it to him whenever possible, but what does his failed small school experiment have to do with teacher bashing? Is this some kind of guilt by association tactic? While we’re are at it, you shouldn’t compound his error to conclude that small schools are the problem. My younger child goes to one and it’s doing fine – a charter no less.

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            I'm sorry, but didn't you just accuse me of negligence for sticking it out in the public schools and here you are reminding us you cut and ran to a charter? Didn't you recently complain that such charter did not even going through the motions of presenting an LCAP to its stakeholders? And didn't you also stated that you were afraid of complaining to your local County BoE because it would jeopardize your relationship with … Read More

            I’m sorry, but didn’t you just accuse me of negligence for sticking it out in the public schools and here you are reminding us you cut and ran to a charter? Didn’t you recently complain that such charter did not even going through the motions of presenting an LCAP to its stakeholders? And didn’t you also stated that you were afraid of complaining to your local County BoE because it would jeopardize your relationship with the charter’s leadership?

            I at least reached out to the principal and worked on the problems (no, I did not share that but I don’t have to tell you everything).

            But you punted.

            A man’s got to know his limitations, I guess.

          • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

            It seems so evident to me that contempt for formal education pervades our culture that the "prove it!" retort is just confounding. If that's really truly serious and you haven't noticed it, Don, I guess I'll try to amass some backup. It's just flamingly evident and all around us. Bill Gates' small schools experiment is the ideal example of someone who believes that there's a tidy, simple answer to an extremely complex problem, so that's why … Read More

            It seems so evident to me that contempt for formal education pervades our culture that the “prove it!” retort is just confounding. If that’s really truly serious and you haven’t noticed it, Don, I guess I’ll try to amass some backup. It’s just flamingly evident and all around us.

            Bill Gates’ small schools experiment is the ideal example of someone who believes that there’s a tidy, simple answer to an extremely complex problem, so that’s why I used it.

            I bring up the fact that small schools are obviously NOT the tidy, simple answer to an extremely complex problem to make that point, but that’s an entirely different thing from saying small schools are no good. My kids attended a small high school and we were happy with it.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            FYI, charters are public schools. I don't see them as an affront to the "real" public schools as you imply. The charter school my younger son attends (the other goes to a "real" public school that's far more segregated and selective) was chosen for its small size and focus on special ed. Yes, a charter with 2.5 times the average sped attendance in the district. And the kinds of problems I have encountered at the … Read More

            FYI, charters are public schools. I don’t see them as an affront to the “real” public schools as you imply. The charter school my younger son attends (the other goes to a “real” public school that’s far more segregated and selective) was chosen for its small size and focus on special ed. Yes, a charter with 2.5 times the average sped attendance in the district.

            And the kinds of problems I have encountered at the charter in question is similar to the problems encountered at previous public schools our children attended. In fact, a few years back when I served SFUSD with a public record request to see SSC documents from all 104 schools, the result of joint review by SFUSD and myself demonstrated that the vast majority of SFUSD had substantially failed to enlist the communities in their school planning contrary to law. Some changes were made but little changed in the subsequent years. That some charters fail, too, is no surprise because without a district culture that will provide the oversight, charters are apt to overlook the pesky views of parents, too .

            I have only managed to get one teacher moved out of a school, but I can say I was instrumental in getting 2 principles removed. Parents can do a lot when they put their minds to it and speak up.

            I regret I put my comment in personal terms and I sincerely apologize.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            If the anti-formal education culture is as evident as you claim it to be,I’m sure you can think of something to give us a hint of what in the world you’re talking about.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Charters are open to all by a lottery. They're public. I have no idea why some see them as a threat in the same category as private schools. They're very integrated and accept all, no one is turned away due to parental income they don't control such as happens at schools like Hamlin, nearly all white a few blocks from schools with very few whites. Charters are ideal, and they can … Read More

            Charters are open to all by a lottery. They’re public. I have no idea why some see them as a threat in the same category as private schools. They’re very integrated and accept all, no one is turned away due to parental income they don’t control such as happens at schools like Hamlin, nearly all white a few blocks from schools with very few whites. Charters are ideal, and they can retain, promote, fire and hire teachers based on skill, attendance and compliance with objectives. A principal doesn’t go in and observe teaching and then get a complaint from the union that it’s a violation of some rule, as has happened in SF. They’re public, but employment is more of a mirror to the real world.

            There is an anti-formal education attitude in the U.S. It’s clear. Magazines love to glamorize those who drop out of college and become billionaires, even though every study shows the higher the SAT, GPA, educational attainment, etc., the higher average income. Asian Americans dominate formal education and the general public has never followed their parenting (60% prepare kids for Kindergarten vs. 16% of whites, 11-18 year olds study 13.8 hours, compared to 5.6 for whites and over 40 hours of TV and games), despite it’s obvious success, and the same thing happened before them with Jewish Americans. Good habits weren’t praised and actually led to disdain and racism. The fastest white flight obvious in the U.S. since the ’80s hasn’t been running from black and Latino schools but from schools becoming more Asian, as whites fear the competition and run, as was documented in the Wall Street Journal in Cupertino and has happened in Fremont and recently in San Ramon, schools were 40% white 10 years ago, about 5 now, with almost all others Asian. People long predicted burnout and unhappiness but studies now show higher attainment at each level and higher income and higher happiness. The pro formal education attitude of Asians is such a threat that they are actively discriminated against in Ivy League admissions, with 140 more SAT points needed from an Asian than a white applicant and HaPa kids with Asian dads often changing their name to their mother’s maiden name. I would argue Caroline is a part of this trend, rejecting Lowell for being too “pro formal education” if not “too Asian”, and I have heard many whites criticize Lowell for it’s high Asian percentage.

            You can’t win, if you under perform whites won’t help you and run as happened in the 30 years after Brown v. Topeka, and if you do better whites run from the competition. Anti formal education attitudes and white supremacy are alive and well, even when disproved by the facts, in a social way. We talk down school, music, shows, movies, the good students are made to look uncool, which isn’t true in Europe or Asia. We don’t hold up the good student as a model, to our detriment.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd, schools that have more applicants than seats have to run lotteries by law whether they are TSPs or charters. Also, some charters are unionized. There's nothing in the law that prevents that. Floyd, you need to get your facts straight. Interest in education reform, financing, curriculum,testing, etc. which is more front and center in the news nowadays does not indicate to me that the public scorns education but the opposite. News outlets like to … Read More

            Floyd, schools that have more applicants than seats have to run lotteries by law whether they are TSPs or charters. Also, some charters are unionized. There’s nothing in the law that prevents that. Floyd, you need to get your facts straight.

            Interest in education reform, financing, curriculum,testing, etc. which is more front and center in the news nowadays does not indicate to me that the public scorns education but the opposite. News outlets like to report on anomalous rags to riches stories, but do not dominate the headlines.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Caroline: I think your argument re public attitudes on "formal education" is likely best articulated in Pulitzer Prize winning historian. Richard Hofstadter's, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Hofstadter traces this "strain" of American bias through the nation's history. The book was triggered by the election romp of Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. One of the Eisenhower campaign's motifs was to accuse Stevenson of being an "egghead," the insult of that time regarding intellectuals. The whole "New … Read More

          Caroline:

          I think your argument re public attitudes on “formal education” is likely best articulated in Pulitzer Prize winning historian. Richard Hofstadter’s, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

          Hofstadter traces this “strain” of American bias through the nation’s history. The book was triggered by the election romp of Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. One of the Eisenhower campaign’s motifs was to accuse Stevenson of being an “egghead,” the insult of that time regarding intellectuals. The whole “New Deal” framework was seen by conservatives to be too much the work of “experts,” college professors, and other likely “subversive” types. The whole subversive aspect came to the fore about that time too with McCarthy and his attacks which often focused on college types and public school teachers as well.

          An example that always stuck with me, as used by Hofstadter, was the depiction of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hallow. The effete and learned school teacher (what else?) is ultimately taken advantage of by a bunch of uneducated “good-old-boys.” Real Americans putting the intellectual in his place.

          This strain in America’s unconscious is interwoven with another strain, American pragmatism. This tends to emphasize the importance of practical knowledge over theoretical, or purely intellectual, knowledge. Professors of philosophy tend to not be as highly regarded professors of medicine or engineering. In education we see this in periodic outbursts of enthusiasm of technological subjects, often at the expense of social science, art, and music. There was a huge controversy over education post-Sputnik and today we see it in a somewhat less hysterical concern about “STEM.”

          We can also see this cyclic internal debate in the current essays about how much college is going-to/or-not “pay-off.” Just getting educated, in the sense of a liberal college education, is not enough. (This is not to disparage the concerns about student debt.)

          There are, of course, other competing strains of American bias that tend to support the intellectual, the arts, and the values of real education, etc.

          One current arena for the history long “debate” is currently being played out in the discussion about Common Core. There are many reasons to support or not support Common Core. A key one for classroom educators is whether or not an appropriate level of resources will be committed to doing it right or will classroom educators be left (as in NY) “holding the bag” if it flops? All of that being said, it is pretty plain that many of the arguments against Common Core coming from the Right are the traditional anti-intellectual ones: its about critical thinking (always scary), its “fuzzy,” it has a lot of college types and other “experts” who promote it, and taking all of that into consideration–it must be subversive.

          It also appears to be true, that cognitive dissonance being what it is, Americans can be disdainful of the educated and still revere educators.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            This is true, very true. You hear Harvard criticized on right wing talk shows and from the left. Harvard itself tries to avoid seeming too intellectual by letting in many applicants not on grades but on legacy (before 1950 it was nearly automatic for rich kids to get into such schools, and legacy can go back 2-3 generations), elite sports, donor preference, celebrity preference, this was documented in 'The Price of Admission' by … Read More

            This is true, very true. You hear Harvard criticized on right wing talk shows and from the left. Harvard itself tries to avoid seeming too intellectual by letting in many applicants not on grades but on legacy (before 1950 it was nearly automatic for rich kids to get into such schools, and legacy can go back 2-3 generations), elite sports, donor preference, celebrity preference, this was documented in ‘The Price of Admission’ by Daniel Golden. They’re scared to seem too bookish so actively discriminate against Asian Americans (requiring 140 more SAT points than whites need), claiming it is based on extracurriculars but offering no proof. The Ivy Leagues, the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, and other great intellectual honors are virtually ignored by the mainstream, unlike in Europe and Asia where it’s a big deal.

            This is why Asians get very little credit for succeeding while poor, and middle class, in school, and are never held up as a model. Academic success is not respected to the level athletic or artistic success is. It is not celebrated. Jewish Americans were actively discriminated against until the early ’50s at top universities and this only stopped upon full assimilation and participation in arts and media. Now Asians are being bashed and discriminated against. This is why Noam Chomsky is more well known in Europe than here, and is a top American intellectual, and he’s only one of many examples. We distrust the intellect. Gary is right about this.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            "it is pretty plain that many of the arguments against Common Core coming from the Right are the traditional anti-intellectual ones: its about critical thinking (always scary), its “fuzzy,” it has a lot of college types and other “experts” who promote it, and taking all of that into consideration–it must be subversive." There are good constitutional reasons to be wary of federal overreach. Criticisms of CCSSI are not only coming from the religious right, talk show … Read More

            “it is pretty plain that many of the arguments against Common Core coming from the Right are the traditional anti-intellectual ones: its about critical thinking (always scary), its “fuzzy,” it has a lot of college types and other “experts” who promote it, and taking all of that into consideration–it must be subversive.”

            There are good constitutional reasons to be wary of federal overreach. Criticisms of CCSSI are not only coming from the religious right, talk show hosts or the Tea Party. Let’s not forget the criticisms coming from the left, such as those of Diane Ravitch who understands Common Core as federal overreach, are not only about a constitutional debate but, in practice, point to the potential for massive nationwide failure given the lack of any prior application of the standards.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            I would argue most of the arguments from the right against common core are political. If someone else were president now I’d expect you’d hear a different tune.

Template last modified: