Credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash

At an education conference Thursday, the two announced candidates for state superintendent of public instruction called for more strategies to counter a teacher shortage they said is gripping the state. The comments by Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond indicate the issue will factor heavily in their campaigns to replace retiring State Superintendent Tom Torlakson next year.

“The shortage is a massive crisis that few are talking about,” said Tuck, a former president of the Green Dot charter network in Los Angeles, who is making his second run for the office. Adopting short- and long-term approaches “must be the number one priority in the state,” he said.

“How can we close the achievement gap with a huge teacher shortage?” asked Assemblyman Thurmond, D-Richmond, a former member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District school board who touted several bills he is authoring this year to address the issue. “We need teachers who are ready and well-trained to teach; that is one of the huge challenges in education right now,” he said.

Thurmond and Tuck spoke on different panels at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s annual education conference in Mountain View. The region’s high cost of living has compounded a teacher shortage in computer science and STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — that are the life blood of the region’s economy, as well as in special education.

Stephen McMahon, deputy superintendent of San Jose Unified, the largest district in Santa Clara County, said in a panel on the teacher shortage that through a rigorous effort, the 30,000-student district has largely been able to hire enough new teachers each fall, only to lose them after three to five years. They move to Oregon, Washington, Arizona and the Central Valley, where they can afford to buy a house, he said.

While it’s painful for a technology company to delay a new product line, schools are a public service, he said. “Students cannot get back a year when they didn’t have a (fully prepared) Algebra I teacher,” he said.

Tuck said the immediate focus should be on providing financial incentives to attract teacher candidates, then better supporting them through mentoring and coaching. “We put new teachers in a classroom and say, ‘Good luck.’ That is especially hard for a 45-year-old person changing careers,” he said. The coaching should be done during the day by experienced teachers who are paid to be mentors, not as an after-thought or additional burden after school, he said.

McMahon said that providing peer evaluators for new teachers and access to full-time instruction coaches are a way that San Jose Unified can compete with better-funded districts that pay teachers more.

Tuck most recently was an educator-in-residence at the Santa-Cruz based New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit that works with school districts on teacher staffing issues. He said the state should provide financial incentives for residency programs, in which new teachers spend their first year under the wing of an accomplished teacher, gradually taking on teaching responsibilities. Loan assistance and tuition grants to draw candidates to teaching and comprehensive coaching for new teachers would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars ­— not the billions of dollars it would take to raise teacher pay, say, 20 percent, which should be the state’s long-term goal, he said.

And he said that the latest teaching shortage has been a persistent, long-standing problem in low-income schools. “We have been totally failing and crushing our poorest kids” in those districts for a long time, he said.

Thurmond is the author of Assembly Bill 45, which would underwrite the development cost for districts building low-cost rental housing for teachers and other school employees. He is also co-author of Assembly Bill 169, which would create Golden State Scholarships of $20,000 for teacher candidates who agree to teach in a high-need field for at least four years. Neither bill yet has funding, although Thurmond said he is optimistic the Legislature will create a permanent source of funding for low-cost housing, including rental projects for teachers, later this year.

 “Working conditions for teachers are often difficult, so we must provide up-front training and support,” he said in an interview.

Panelist Tara Kinney, director of state policy for the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute, quantified the teacher shortage. She said that two-thirds of new special education teachers and two-fifths of new science and math teachers are underprepared, lacking a preliminary teaching credential or are assigned to classes without having the subject expertise. The number of “emergency” provisional or short-term teaching permits nearly quintupled from 859 in 2012-13 to 4,069 in 2015-16. She agreed with Tuck that the financial help for teacher candidates, such as tuition loans known as APLE, which legislators are seeking to revive, are “modest incentives that the state should be able to do right now.”

High schools can start the pipeline for students interested in teaching as a career through magnet schools, said Joan Bissell, director of teacher education and public school programs for the California State University system. She encouraged high-tech leaders at the conference to help underwrite the costs for magnet schools and for other supports for teachers.

“There are not enough mentor teachers for the current new corps of teachers, so companies can help there,” she said.

 McMahon added that it’s in their interest to do so. “A STEM initiative is undercut without a good math teacher,” he said.

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  1. Ellen 4 days ago4 days ago

    So actually we aren't failing low income students- their families are. They come to school poorly prepared and by high school are horribly behaved. The focus needs to be on how to prepare these students on "how to be students." A class called "How to be a student 101" should be taught. This means bringing supplies to school, basic word processing, time management and classroom etiquette. There are many good teachers in urban … Read More

    So actually we aren’t failing low income students- their families are. They come to school poorly prepared and by high school are horribly behaved. The focus needs to be on how to prepare these students on “how to be students.” A class called “How to be a student 101” should be taught. This means bringing supplies to school, basic word processing, time management and classroom etiquette. There are many good teachers in urban areas but like me they leave for areas where they think they can make more of a difference. That’s why after 10 years I left teaching in an urban area to teach in a slightly more outlying area. The differences were stunning. In addition, many of the worst principals are in the urban schools .

    Replies

    • Mike 1 day ago1 day ago

      Very well said! I’m actually in the same boat. After 10 years of inner city teaching, it started turning into a nightmare – thanks to no admin support and basically harassing teachers for no good reason for out-of-control kids and parents. Time for the suburbs.

  2. Michelle 5 days ago5 days ago

    As a new teacher whose contract was not renewed, I agree with many of these comments. I worked my tail off, stayed till almost 6 pm, found myself spending my Sundays working, and had little "real" support. I worked in a Title I school where the majority of my students were below grade level, and had various home issues. My principal waited until the last few days to officially complete "formal observation." She told … Read More

    As a new teacher whose contract was not renewed, I agree with many of these comments. I worked my tail off, stayed till almost 6 pm, found myself spending my Sundays working, and had little “real” support. I worked in a Title I school where the majority of my students were below grade level, and had various home issues.

    My principal waited until the last few days to officially complete “formal observation.” She told me if she had to decide now, she wouldn’t renew my contract and then stayed OVER an HOUR. Talk about pressure! What happened to supporting me 3 months into the school year? To make matters worse, I thought she was on my side and truly cared, so that was an extra slap in the face.

    I went above and beyond what was required of me, and because I was a new teacher had no contractual rights to fight it. I was devastated, I felt that my career was ruined and here I have my principal telling me that I’m not a bad teacher, I just need to develop more (well, duh). She kept loudly saying to me, “Don’t you dare give up!” and “You just need to develop more as a teacher” (pretty much told to leave my emotions out of teaching) and how terrible she felt. Umm, really? Kids need to know and feel that their teacher truly cares for them.

    1) How can I develop as a teacher if I don’t have a job and or support?
    2) Am I supposed to be a robot in my classroom? I’m sorry, but when you leave your emotions out of teaching, students might as well be taught by a robot.

    If the state wants to focus on the teacher shortage, work with the teachers who are new and want to improve, don’t just kick them to the curb. Give them guidance throughout the school year, not wait until the last two months of school.

    We don’t give up on our students, yet we are so quick to give up on our teachers. And we wonder why we have teachers leaving the profession.

    Replies

    • Paul 5 days ago5 days ago

      "We don't give up on our students, yet we are so quick to give up on our teachers. And we wonder why we have teachers leaving the profession." Michelle, I am sorry you went through that. Your closing lines mirror my experience working for a terrible first-year principal. The only advice Mrs. H. had for me was to "be more like Mr. M." In math department meetings, my colleague Mr. M. would say, "Don't spend too much … Read More

      “We don’t give up on our students, yet we are so quick to give up on our teachers. And we wonder why we have teachers leaving the profession.”

      Michelle, I am sorry you went through that.

      Your closing lines mirror my experience working for a terrible first-year principal. The only advice Mrs. H. had for me was to “be more like Mr. M.” In math department meetings, my colleague Mr. M. would say, “Don’t spend too much time on Topic X, because our kids don’t get it.” He was popular because he taught procedures (easy), not concepts (hard).

      Realizing that there was no opportunity for professional growth there, I deftly engineered a mid-term release. A principal in the neighboring district had wanted to hire me in the summer, and still had a vacancy.

      On my last day, I told only my last class, the toughest one. Mr. M. and his guidance counselor crony had grouped all of the Grade 8 English Learners and most of the Grade 8 Special Education students and students with behavior problems in that section, instead of integrating them across all 5 sections of Algebra. We had bonded in spite of our (no-doubt mutual) frustrations. I explained my departure: “Can you imagine if, no matter what you did, I always told you you were no good, but never offered any suggestions? That is how your principal treated me.”

      A student responded, “You were actually starting to be good!” Two years later, the only certified homeless student I ever taught (this status allows a student to enroll immediately in whatever public school is closest) spotted me across International Boulevard and called out happily. I’d known him a matter of weeks.

      I am curious whether you taught again, or decided to exit the profession. If your contract was temporary, you can answer “no” to the question about non-reelection, which appears on virtually all school district teacher job applications. If your contract was probationary, you must answer “yes” from now on. Private schools and non-corporate charters are more concerned with you as a human being and an individual, so they may not even ask about non-reelection. Corporate charter schools tend to be high-attrition places in need of bodies, so they don’t care.

      While I hope you’ve found a home in teaching, the truth is that it is better to exit. A competent worker will earn more, experience less stress, have more evenings and weekends free, and enjoy more stable employment (from the sounds of it, you did not stay long enough to receive permanent status in your district, and not even permanent status can protect teachers from pink slips).

      I returned to the tech. industry after spending a few years in the classroom. What I appreciate most is having decision-making authority — and not being yelled at by parents!

    • el 2 days ago2 days ago

      What a frustrating experience that was for you. I don't know you so I don't know whether teaching is right for you or not. But if you decide to give it another go, know that some schools and districts are better at raising and mentoring new teachers than others, and that sometimes a fresh start at a new school is very successful, both because maybe you chose a more supportive environment and also because you are … Read More

      What a frustrating experience that was for you.

      I don’t know you so I don’t know whether teaching is right for you or not. But if you decide to give it another go, know that some schools and districts are better at raising and mentoring new teachers than others, and that sometimes a fresh start at a new school is very successful, both because maybe you chose a more supportive environment and also because you are starting up with more tools and savvy to get you going.

      It is absolutely only fair for a principal to give plenty of feedback and warning before a non-reelect. No one should ever get one by surprise.

      That said, I know more than one teacher who has moved on from either an expected or actual non-relect and become successful in a new position. Whatever you do, I wish you much success in your career.

  3. AEA 6 days ago6 days ago

    I've been working with student teachers for 5 years in California. I am frequently frustrated with the general mediocre preparation student teaching affords new teachers - four months in a classroom is just not enough time. I believe full-time paid teacher residency programs of at least one year would offer much better preparation and also address retention for the many reasons listed in other comments. This is an investment in building a truly highly qualified … Read More

    I’ve been working with student teachers for 5 years in California. I am frequently frustrated with the general mediocre preparation student teaching affords new teachers – four months in a classroom is just not enough time. I believe full-time paid teacher residency programs of at least one year would offer much better preparation and also address retention for the many reasons listed in other comments. This is an investment in building a truly highly qualified and prepared teaching corps. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

  4. Naraji 1 week ago1 week ago

    I am a new teacher. What I am most disappointed by is the lack of support at the district levels! No support. No commitment to help me develop my skills. Some places don't have the required BTSA instructors, I have to be "independent" already. I just graduated! Here is what is being asked of me: 1. Buy all of your supplies. This includes the "required" storage for back packs! Really? Why wouldn't each school provide … Read More

    I am a new teacher. What I am most disappointed by is the lack of support at the district levels! No support. No commitment to help me develop my skills. Some places don’t have the required BTSA instructors, I have to be “independent” already. I just graduated! Here is what is being asked of me:
    1. Buy all of your supplies. This includes the “required” storage for back packs! Really? Why wouldn’t each school provide storage for each student’s back pack as a part of the building plan?
    2. I am temporary and probationary. Therefore, I had to do the exact same thing last year, but for a different grade. It seems to me, a clear credential in California is an 8-year program: a 4 year BA program, 2 year post-grad, 2 year BTSA, then 2 year on probation minimum!
    It’s not the money. I love California but where is the love from California? As a new teacher, I am overwhelmed with classroom management, constantly being asked to give more time for committees, buying supplies and little leadership/mentoring. This is why we are leaving the profession. We are underappreciated, like we are a “dime a dozen.” Who in their right minds could sustain this?
    California needs to work on retention. Pay attention to what you have already. You may be able to stop the turnstiles from clacking as teachers bolt out of these sweat shops! Look at your data. Find out which schools are unable to groom new teachers through clear credential. Ask for accountability from the BTSA programs. Ask, Why new teachers not being successfully engaged? It can’t all be the new teachers or the economy.
    Teachers are not adequately prepared in our universities to buy supplies, decorate the classroom in 5 days and be prepared as new teachers for parents, administrators and the kids.
    Wow! Okay, I am breathing now … whew!

  5. Paul 1 week ago1 week ago

    Here is another way for the state to increase teacher retention: enforce the law and stop districts from making most new teachers temporary. Temporary teachers are disposable. Districts have little incentive to train, support and evaluate them, and they have little incentive to invest in their schools and districts. State law does not require that temporary teachers be evaluated. If they are evaluated under local rules, the results don't matter, because all temporary teachers are automatically released … Read More

    Here is another way for the state to increase teacher retention: enforce the law and stop districts from making most new teachers temporary.

    Temporary teachers are disposable. Districts have little incentive to train, support and evaluate them, and they have little incentive to invest in their schools and districts.

    State law does not require that temporary teachers be evaluated. If they are evaluated under local rules, the results don’t matter, because all temporary teachers are automatically released at year-end. Some won’t last even that long; temporary teachers are subject to dismissal without cause at any time. (Probationary teachers can be dismissed without cause at year-end, but only for cause during the year.) By definition, temporary teachers do not progress toward permanent status.

    I will use the Alameda Unified School District as my example. Of about 71 teachers newly hired so far for 2017-2018, about 59 are temporary.

    The law allows temporary status for first-term or first-semester positions, when enrollment is declining. Full-year appointments are listed for the Alameda teachers.

    The law allows temporary status for categorically-funded positions. The Local Control Funding Formula has eliminated most categorical programs.

    The law allows temporary status for replacing teachers on leave. Although some of Alameda’s approximately 489 incumbents (560 total teachers minus 71 new teachers this year) have probably been granted year-long leaves, it’s highly unlikely that 59 (12% of incumbent teachers) have. When you consider that the vast majority of teachers hired in Alameda since 2010 (when I began following the district) have been temporary, it seems that the district is converting to a short-term teacher workforce.

    Overuse of temporary temporary teachers has received little attention.

    Determining the legality of temporary contracts is difficult. Certainty would require tracking all of a district’s job postings, new contracts, and leaves, for more than a year. Although local unions may get involved when there is a layoff, few have taken up the issue systemically, as a hiring matter. There was a lawsuit in Southern California (Pasadena, if memory serves) in the 2000s. The union had to gather hundreds of pages’ worth of job postings for its court filing. Temporary teachers, because they are released by the end of the year, are not likely to become long-term members of a given local union.

    The state washes its hands of temporary teachers. The California Department of Education does not track temporary status consistently, and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing told me, when I testified, that it has no involvement in teacher employment. This has not prevented the CTC from going on a binge, approving Declarations of Need (DONs) for Fully-Qualified Educators, Short-Term Staff Permits (STSPs), Provisional Internship Permits (PIPs), and waivers, whenever districts ask.

    One of the few available pieces of research on temporary teachers is https://www.sri.com/sites/default/files/publications/sri_bumpy-road.pdf

    I may not mind if the staff of my local McDonald’s turns over every year, but annual teacher churn is bad for my neighborhood school, and it certainly leads new teachers to seek stable jobs in other fields.

    How I calculated:

    I consulted certificated personnel reports from April (when hiring for 2017-2018 began) to the present. The latest one is here:

    https://alameda.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/Mobile/AttachmentViewer.ashx?AttachmentID=7931&ItemID=7232

    Total teacher employment is from the SACS Financial Report.

    Figures are approximate. I didn’t correct for less-than-full-time assignments, of which there were few.

    CA Ed. Code 44909ff is the law governing temporary classification.

  6. Christian Miraglia 1 week ago1 week ago

    All of the comments have merit. Yes, teachers leave the field because of the ridiculous amounts of hoops they have to jump through just to get through the first couple of years. Second, the demonizing of teachers as the problem for larger societal problems such as poverty and low achievement in schools is quite real. Third, the constant threat of layoffs annually would be enough to make someone think twice about going into the field. … Read More

    All of the comments have merit. Yes, teachers leave the field because of the ridiculous amounts of hoops they have to jump through just to get through the first couple of years. Second, the demonizing of teachers as the problem for larger societal problems such as poverty and low achievement in schools is quite real. Third, the constant threat of layoffs annually would be enough to make someone think twice about going into the field. The pay is an issue as well as mentioned by those familiar with the housing issues in urban areas such as San Francisco and San Jose. It extends to other areas as well when people can make more in other industries and not deal with the constant pressures.
    And, as one of comments alluded to, support is key. Throwing beginning teachers to the wolves without providing guidance and mentoring is a recipe for disaster. No one except a teacher who has lived the career that involves more than just teaching, but extending into multiple professions is able to do so. This being said, when our society begins to respect the profession as it is esteemed in other nations, it then might become more attractive.

  7. el 1 week ago1 week ago

    So the fundamental problem that I didn't see mentioned at all is that the state budget whipsaw is a huge culprit here. We don't have teachers now because a few years back districts had to lay off new teachers left and right because of tight budgets. Those teachers left the field forever, some because they weren't suited, but many because they were amazing people who were quickly snapped up by other sectors. This year we are … Read More

    So the fundamental problem that I didn’t see mentioned at all is that the state budget whipsaw is a huge culprit here.

    We don’t have teachers now because a few years back districts had to lay off new teachers left and right because of tight budgets. Those teachers left the field forever, some because they weren’t suited, but many because they were amazing people who were quickly snapped up by other sectors. This year we are having trouble filling positions, yes. But the elephant in the room is that 2-3 years out, districts will probably be laying off teachers again due to the overconstrained problem of CalPERS and CalSTRS unfunded increases and a rising minimum wage. I don’t begrudge the staff that money – these are earned benefits and part of the contracts they made with districts. But the money has to come from somewhere and there are few options if the Legislature isn’t sending it.

    When we don’t pay top drawer, we need to make up for it in stability and security for people who work hard and do the job well. If we can’t do that, asking people to train as teachers so we’ll be able to lay them off seems a little unfair if not unrealistic.

    If we are going to keep the whipsaw, we need to figure out how to make the labor pool more flexible – not just bringing new people to chew up in our buzzsaw in but also giving them graceful ways to leave the system in terms of both pension eligibility and figuring out what other sectors we’re going to share workers with.

    The low cost rental housing is a good idea in almost every community, both rural and urban. The scholarship with the 4 year obligation might be less useful, especially because maybe not every new graduate is someone we want teaching 4 years. Instead, I’d probably put that money into just funding more positions, paying for district mentors, and giving districts more wiggle room when enrollment is volatile.

  8. Raoul 1 week ago1 week ago

    A few short years ago, hundreds or even thousands of desperate credentialed applicants applied for even the least desirable teaching positions posted in California, even as newly credentialed teachers and the tens of thousands who had been laid off under last-in first-out languished in prolonged unemployment. But I don't recall Marshall Tuck calling that situation a "massive crisis" back then. Indeed, the charter school industry's "churn and burn" philosophy toward teachers … Read More

    A few short years ago, hundreds or even thousands of desperate credentialed applicants applied for even the least desirable teaching positions posted in California, even as newly credentialed teachers and the tens of thousands who had been laid off under last-in first-out languished in prolonged unemployment. But I don’t recall Marshall Tuck calling that situation a “massive crisis” back then. Indeed, the charter school industry’s “churn and burn” philosophy toward teachers fit well with an oversupply of desperately eager unemployed candidates. During the unemployment crisis, despite the great strains placed upon them, new teachers would take any job, including jobs requiring long commutes to work in regions with no affordable housing.

    Eventually as the unemployment crisis dragged on and on, word got around, interest in teaching waned, and the candidate pipeline diminished as any thinking person would expect. An array of solutions to the “shortage” is proposed as reported. Very oddly, none of the proposed solutions address the root causes of the shortage: massive newer teacher unemployment and layoffs during California cyclical recessions, deep dissatisfaction with working conditions as reflected in surveys of teachers, and new teacher salaries that will not allow a candidate to afford safe and decent housing in reasonable proximity to his or her school.

    The Learning Policy Institute bemoans that shortage of credentialed special ed teachers. But some associated with the Institute contributed to the shortage by involvement with the misused teacher assessment test, edTPA. With edTPA, candidates are required to take very limited duration video clips of themselves successfully implementing a required array of advanced teacher strategies. This may be fine with normal students, but moderate/severe special education teachers often have severely disabled students who are paralyzed, without speech, some who communicate only with eye gaze, etc.

    In edTPA, when the severely disabled students cannot be made to appear to perform within the video clip, a clip which is not allowed to exceed a very short duration, the aspiring special education teacher is marked down or failed. Essentially, the candidate is downgraded based on the severe student disability.

    I have heard of moderate/severe special education candidates who chose other credential paths when edTPA was instituted for their program.

  9. Ann 1 week ago1 week ago

    Can we have more specifics regarding the shortages. Is the math and science shortage primarily in high school where a single subject credential is required? In our district science teachers of elementary science, usually as release teachers, are also required to have such credentials. I believe that state regulations require any elementary teacher who teaches only one subject, math, art, music, must also have the single subject credential. Anyone know if this is true?

  10. CarolineSF 1 week ago1 week ago

    So-called education "reformers" have made blaming teachers; working to take away their seniority rights, pensions and right to collective bargaining; treating them as the enemy; and attacking their unions a cornerstone of their "reform" campaign. See the movie "Waiting for 'Superman' " and right-wing activist Campbell Brown's campaign to paint teachers as a gang of sexual predators as two of many, many, many examples over the years. In New Orleans, after Katrina, "reformers" took over … Read More

    So-called education “reformers” have made blaming teachers; working to take away their seniority rights, pensions and right to collective bargaining; treating them as the enemy; and attacking their unions a cornerstone of their “reform” campaign. See the movie “Waiting for ‘Superman’ ” and right-wing activist Campbell Brown’s campaign to paint teachers as a gang of sexual predators as two of many, many, many examples over the years.

    In New Orleans, after Katrina, “reformers” took over the school system and fired 5,000-7,000 teachers — mostly black women — and largely replaced them with young white temp beginners.

    The education “reform” sector has painted experienced teachers as burned-out deadwood (if not sexual predators) and promoted the notion that bright-eyed temp Teach for America beginners are preferable.

    The powerful, billionaire-funded education “reform” sector continually demonstrates its contempt for the notion of consulting teachers or including them in discussions of education practices, in its campaign to put our nation’s education policy in the hands of business leaders and billionaires.

    This list could go on and on and on. Should we more sharply question a “reformer” from the charter-school sector who now turns around and professes concern about a teacher shortage?

    Replies

    • Michael Weller 6 days ago6 days ago

      Agreed. How can Tuck be an "educator in residences" when he's actually not an educator? He taught “internationally” for a whole year! His background is in business; he's never taught in a classroom. Corporate management and education are not the same thing. "Union-buster in residence," perhaps, but hardly an educator. Read More

      Agreed.

      How can Tuck be an “educator in residences” when he’s actually not an educator? He taught “internationally” for a whole year! His background is in business; he’s never taught in a classroom. Corporate management and education are not the same thing. “Union-buster in residence,” perhaps, but hardly an educator.

  11. Bobby 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    Perhaps if California also required us candidates in credential programs to jump through fewer flaming hoops, the shortage wouldn’t be such a crisis. The CSETs are ridiculously difficult and the TPAs are pointless. I understand wanting highly qualified and trained teachers, but those two hoops are not the way to obtain them.

  12. Paul 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    The focus on adding more coaching, restoring cheap incentives like APLE, and perhaps creating some new incentives, is misguided. It suggests that the candidates are listening to industry insiders rather than talking to new teachers. Coaching: BTSA provides at least an hour a week of one-on-one support over two years, and sets out specific rules for selecting the support provider. How much more does a new teacher have time for? New teachers would benefit much more from … Read More

    The focus on adding more coaching, restoring cheap incentives like APLE, and perhaps creating some new incentives, is misguided. It suggests that the candidates are listening to industry insiders rather than talking to new teachers.

    Coaching:

    BTSA provides at least an hour a week of one-on-one support over two years, and sets out specific rules for selecting the support provider. How much more does a new teacher have time for?

    New teachers would benefit much more from rational and fair assignments. It is stupid to place the least-experienced teacher in the district’s toughest school, assign the person the most critical course(s) or grade level(s), and then fill the person’s class(es) with the school’s most troubled students. Superintendents, principals, guidance counselors, high-seniority teachers, and local union leaders should be ashamed of themselves for offloading the hardest work. What other profession inducts newcomers in this way? Does a first-year medical resident perform brain surgery?

    APLE:

    No one seems to have noticed that loan assumption payments do not lower a borrower’s monthly payment! (Instead, they shorten the repayment period.) A typical California teacher starts well below $50,000 a year. Reducing monthly loan payments during those critical, low-income years would do much more to relieve financial stress.

    I would add that APLE, and similar district-level initiatives like the one at Monterey Peninsula Unified, carry strings that make collecting the money uncertain.

    Please, let us stop tinkering around the edges of California’s teacher recruitment and retention problem.