Tag Archives: Southern California Public Radio

SoCal schools face a teacher shortage

Southern California school districts are facing what Donna Glassman-Sommer, a Tulare County Office of Education administrator, calls “the perfect storm” – a combination of teachers going into retirement, a decline of enrollment in teaching credential programs, and increased state funding for new hires.

The 2013-2014 annual report from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing shows that enrollment in teacher preparation courses has been in a steady decline for twelve consecutive years, with the number of new teachers down 26% over the last five years. One reason for this are budget cuts that have driven several experienced teachers from the field and students in teacher preparation programs to change majors.

In order to combat the lack of recruitable credentialed teachers, some schools turn to teacher interns and substitutes. While interns usually have a bachelor’s degree, teacher training, and no classroom experience, substitute teachers must be enrolled in a four-year California university/college with at least ninety units completed. With these empty spots filled for the time being, districts still worry about filling classrooms with fully credentialed teachers. “I think it’s especially going to be urgent coming July in 2016 as we see all of the baby boomers, we would like to say, retiring and deciding to move on to another part of their life,” Patricia Pernin, president of California Teacher Corps, said.

There does seem to be good news for Southern California schools, though – incoming college freshmen have expressed a greater interest in teaching, and report noticing that the job market in education is getting better. Schools remain hopeful for this next generation of tech-savvy and Common Core trained teachers – but for the time being, continue searching for teachers for the upcoming school year.

To learn more, check out the original article, “SoCal schools may see more interns, substitutes in classrooms as teacher shortage grows,”by Mary Plummer for Southern California Public Radio.

Two of Project Tomorrow’s initiatives, YouthTEACH2Learn and the California Future Educators Association (F.E.A.), work to combat the issue of the teacher shortage.

YouthTEACH2Learn is a career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels and visit local college campuses in order to determine if the teaching is a “good-fit” for their professional goals. To learn more about YouthTEACH2Learn, visit http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/yt2l.html.

California F.E.A. encourages students to learn about careers in education and aid them in exploring teaching while providing meaningful opportunities to receive the mentoring and support they need to actualize their career aspirations. CFEA has made several accomplishments during the 2014-2015 school year, including but not limited to increasing its chapters from 3 to 14 (with membership increasing from 55 to 358), producing a webinar on National Board Certification with National University, and doubling participation in the CFEA state conference with over 400 members in attendance. To learn more about California F.E.A., visit http://www.tomorrow.org/fea/.

What’s the Best Way to Evaluate a College Graduate’s Skills?

Factors for Employers to Consider When Assessing Potential Employees 

How should employers asses the critical thinking factors of recent graduates?
Employers looking to hire recent college graduates typically look at the prospective employee’s cumulative GPA, work experiences and internships, but are these factors telling of the prospective employee?
Some say yes, some say no. What do you say?
KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, recently conducted a segment highlighting a test that aims to predict critical thinking factors of recent college graduates, factors that GPA and work experiences cannot measure as reliably, as CLA+ claims.
CLA+ stands for the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus test. It differs from other standardized tests and graduate school examinations, as it aims to specifically test critical thinking factors, and it is not a test you can study/prepare for in advance for a short amount of time.
The CLA+ is given at the beginning of one’s college experience, and again at the end of one’s college experience.
Some are skeptical of this test’s validity, and argue there is simply not enough research to tell if it works or not. How can a test accommodate for diverse college experiences, including varying majors and school involvement?
Others think it could be useful in assessing a recent graduate’s critical thinking factors, something that is vital in the professional workforce.
Recent graduates who called in during KPCC’s segment stated the test was unnecessary, as employers can judge numerous abilities and factors during a job interview, and did not understand how it was different from any other typical tests. 
Others called in and stated that students are over-tested, and a line needs to be drawn.
For more information, listen to the radio segment here. You may see sample questions of what the CLR+ would entail here. 
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter! Let’s get the conversation started.
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