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California Districts Deal With Teacher Shortage As School Year Begins


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – With the new school year just around the corner, and in some districts, already underway, California is suffering from an acute shortage of qualified teachers. It's likely to get worse.

"There is a teacher shortage in the state of California," said Dr. Brent Stephens, chief academic officer at the San Francisco Unified School District. Stephens said SFUSD has scrambled to hire enough this year.

"The sands are always shifting as we move toward the first day of school. But right now it looks really positive that we'll be 100 percent staffed," Stephens told KCBS.

Stephens credits aggressive programs to recruit and develop teachers.

Meanwhile, Oakland handed out hiring bonuses for new teachers, but is still short. So are many other districts.

"We are as desperate as anyone else," said Kate Bowen, who teaches 5th grade in Davis.

Bowen said teachers are stretched to the max, working long, unpaid hours to make up for the short staff:

"We just do it on behalf of the kids and the families and the students, we love what we do. And we just make it work," Bowen told KCBS.

The state is granting more emergency credentials, for underqualified teachers to fill the gaps, especially in special education, math and science.

The Mercury News reported that in 2015-2016, the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing issued 15,400 standard credentials, while issuing nearly 10,000 non-standard credentials for interns, temporary fill-ins and others seeking emergency permission to teach.

The number of non-standard permits has issued has doubled in the past three years, the Mercury News reported.

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