News Briefs | FYI
May 13, 2024
Researchers identify state’s ‘teacher education deserts’
Amid a persistent and growing teacher shortage crisis in California, a new study from the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools makes clear the state’s rural border counties face significant challenges to teacher development, recruitment and retention, illuminating the profound impact that geographic, social, economic and educational factors have on the teacher supply in rural parts of the state. Among recommendations for addressing the challenges, the report recommends California’s community colleges play an expanded role in teacher education in rural counties.
“Teacher education deserts are a barren landscape for teacher recruitment and retention,” said Kai Mathews, UCLA CTS California Educator Diversity Project Director and lead author of the report. “By isolating rural communities from a qualified educator pipeline, these deserts cultivate an unending cycle of teacher turnover, underprepared instructors, and ultimately, stunted student potential. This educational disparity is a physical barrier that shines a light on the inequity inherent in our infrastructure. We have an opportunity and a duty here to creatively collaborate to level the odds and ensure that all students, regardless of ZIP code, have access to the qualified teachers they deserve.”
The report, “California’s Teacher Education Deserts: An Overlooked & Growing Equity Challenge,” profiles nine counties in which the office of education is over 60 miles away from the nearest teach-er education program: Alpine, Del Norte, Imperial, Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Sierra and Siskiyou. Indicating a shortage of teachers and the difficulties schools have in hiring and retaining fully prepared teachers, eight of nine of the counties have rates of underprepared teachers that exceed the average in California and higher rates of those teaching outside of their authorized subject field. The report highlights geographic location, numbers of teachers with substandard teaching credentials, poverty rates, academic test scores, school stability rates, and education attainment rates to suggest their cumulative impacts on teacher recruitment and retention.
Accompanying the report, an interactive map provides K-12 data for each of California’s 58 counties, statewide under-prepared teacher rates, and the locations of teacher education programs and community colleges statewide. The map demonstrates the impact of community colleges being permitted to provide teaching credentials to non-teacher residents already possessing a bachelor’s degree, which would benefit five out of the nine desert counties.
Read the report at transformschools.ucla.edu/research/californias-teacher-education-deserts.
CDE unveils new resource on instructional materials
The Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division is pleased to announce a new resource available on the CDE website. The State Board of Education adopted new Guidance for Local Instruction-al Materials Adoptions in March of 2024. This document supports local educational agencies throughout the instructional materials adoption process, including links to current legislation, sample timelines, support for student groups and implementation considerations. The process of selecting and implementing new instructional materials at the local level should be thoroughly planned, publicly conducted and well documented. This resource can be used to support LEAs throughout the local instruction-al materials adoption process. This new guidance can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/glima.asp.
Grants available for school facilities program
The California Energy Commission has opened an additional round of funding for two grants under the California Schools Healthy Air, Plumbing, and Efficiency (CalSHAPE) Program. There is $253 million available for the current round of the CalSHAPE Ventilation Program and over $170 million available for the CalSHAPE Plumbing Program. LEAs and state agencies are eligible to apply; how-ever, school sites must be within the service territory of Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, or Southern California Gas Company. Interested LEAs must submit their applications at calshape.energy.ca.gov and must have an account before submitting the application. The deadline is 5 p.m. May 31. Questions to CalSHAPE@energy.ca.gov.