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Report: State school districts increasing teacher pay to off-set shortage

teacher classroom US Army Garrison Casey.jpg
Flickr / Creative Commons

The persistent teacher shortage, coupled with higher-than-usual retirements and resignations during the pandemic, has district officials scrambling to fill classrooms this school year, even as additional state and federal funding gave them the ability to hire more staff.

So says a report by the Learning Policy Institute, a Palo Alto-based non-profit education research organization.

The report consists of a survey of district officials from eight large and four small school districts, including the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts. The 12 districts in the report educate a combined one out of every six California students.

Two-thirds of the districts surveyed reported they have had more teacher vacancies than usual to fill this school year, and a more difficult time finding teachers to hire.

As a result, schools have increasingly had to hire underprepared teachers working with intern credentials, permits or waivers instead of completing the coursework, clinical practice, tests and other requirements to earn a full teaching credential.

Teacher burnout is one reason cited for resignations and retirements, according to district officials. In one large district, retirements in 2020-21 increased by 25 percent over the 2018-19 school year and leaves of absences increased by 50 percent.