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Bay Area schools wrestle with teacher shortage

4th grade class at Acorn Woodland Elementary in Oakland, California.
Wikimedia user Diablanco
Wikimedia Commons
4th grade class at Acorn Woodland Elementary in Oakland, California.

Amidst the 34,000 students having their first day of class were 60 teacher vacancies. These vacancies are leaving thousands without permanent instructors and are strainingthe supply of substitute teachers – and Oakland isn’t alone.

The San Francisco Unified School District, or SFUSD, which is set to begin its school year on August 16th, is still looking to find more than 140 teachers before the first day of school.

In years past, school districts across the Bay could count on being able to fill all vacant positions by the first day of school. But with the increasing cost-of-living, low pay – and the price of teacher credentialing tests being huge hiring barriers – SFUSD is implementing their own credentialing programs.

D’Andre Ball is SFUSD’s director of talent acquisition and staff.

“There are some people who have worked with young people for years, who’ve worked in the same school community for years, they know the student body well, they know what the staff operations are like, they just don’t have access to a teacher credentialing program” 

At the state level, California is just one of many states proposing or implementinglegislation that would streamline the credentialing process. That’s the goal of Senate Bill 1397, which went into effect last January. It waives the QUOTE “basic skills proficiency requirement” needed for emergency substitute teacher permits until July 1, 2024.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul C. Kelly Campos is a writer, poet and translator of Irish and Nicaraguan descent. His bilingual work has appeared in NPR’s Next Generation Radio, The Washington Post, KQED Forum, KALW, Prism, The Golden Gate Xpress, Seen and Heard, The San Franciscan, and Borderless magazine.