California teacher shortage still an issue for Fresno County school districts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new study shows California's teacher shortage continues to plague school districts, with more needing to be done to ensure there are enough qualified teachers for the state's public schools.

Central Unified School District said it's student teachers are crucial towards recruiting new hires-- especially during what's turned out to be another year of teacher shortages. "A lot of times when student teachers work in the district, it's a good pairing, so that we can hire them as soon as they're ready to be hired," said Mark Sutton, Central Unified S.D. Superintendent.

A new report published by the Learning Policy Institute states the high demand for new teachers comes while supply is at a 12-year low. In fact, researchers found job openings for teachers rose by 25-percent, while credentials issued for new teachers only went up by a fraction of a percent. Education administrators are finding teacher layoffs during the recession is behind the lack of candidates. "The kids in college at that time saw there were not as many teachers hired, so they went into different fields. And I think that's still carrying over today," said Sutton.

The report said more needs to be done to train and get students thinking about a career in education-- and more incentives to keep teachers in the field.

Clovis Unified School District held their hiring fair earlier to get to candidates faster. They and nearly a hundred other local school districts will be at several teacher job fairs this month at Fresno State, Fresno Pacific and National Universities hoping to recruit students who are getting their credentials and looking for a job after graduation. "We are making every bit of a push to work with local universities cohorts, creating pathways within our own school system. So planting those seeds earlier in our CTE programs with careers in education at our local high schools," said Barry Jager, Clovis Unified School District.

Clovis Unified is even traveling to the bay area to recruit special education teachers-- a position that's hard to find candidates for.

Central Unified is hiring up to 50 teachers for the upcoming school year, while Clovis is looking to hire more than 100.
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