California data shows how many teachers are qualified

Bay Area school districts are lagging behind the state when it comes to ensuring children have highly qualified teachers, and new data released this week shows the gap is even wider in some poorer districts like Oakland Unified.

The data, first released by the state on Thursday, evaluated the qualifications of teachers from kindergarten to high school to show how many have qualifications in the subject taught in their classes and how many do not.

A Bay Area News Group analysis of the data for the Bay Area with six counties shows that Alameda and San Francisco counties follow the state, with 77% of courses taught by teachers qualified to teach the classes. assigned to them, based on state status, compared to 83% in the Golden State overall. The picture is grittier when broken down by school district.

In 2020-2021, one of the top 10 districts in the six-county Bay Area, Oakland Unified fared far worse than other districts in placing highly qualified subject teachers in the classroom, with only 56.7% of teachers who were graduates in the courses they taught.

To round out the bottom, Oakland Unified was followed by San Francisco Unified with 77.3% qualified and Hayward Unified with 82.1%. Other Bay Area districts fared better, with 88.2% of classes taught in Fremont Unified by fully qualified teachers, followed by San Ramon Valley Unified at 87.6% and Antioch Unified at 85.1%.

At 27.9%, Oakland Unified also topped the Bay Area in classes taught by teachers deemed ineffective by state standards, compared to 11.8% overall in Alameda County. A teacher is considered ineffective if he does not hold a California teaching license or if he teaches with an emergency license.

San Francisco at 8.9% and Hayward Unified at 8.2% had the second highest percentages of classes taught by teachers as ineffective, while in San Ramon Valley Unified only 1.9% of classes were taught by ineffective teachers and in Fremont 2.2%.

When it comes to specific teaching topics, the number of unqualified teacher placements is even worse. For English and Math, the statewide percentage is about 4.5%, while the counties of Alameda and San Francisco have more than double that.

Oakland school leaders say they want the community to know they are doing what they can to increase the number of accredited teachers for their students with the resources they have. And they value the work of undergraduate teachers, Chief Superintendent Kyra Johnson-Trammell said.

“It is critical that credentials are not viewed in a vacuum,” Johnson-Trammell wrote in a letter to the school community on Thursday. “The complexity of the qualification process, the diversity of teachers and a nationwide teacher shortage all play a role in the story. We know what we are dealing with and will continue to rise to the challenge on behalf of our students and families.”

The state separated the data for the 2020-21 school year into four main categories: clear, ineffective, off-field and trainee.

  • Clear — Instructor has a subject degree and is fully licensed to teach a course in those subjects.
  • Ineffective — Teacher has no California credential at all, teaches with an emergency license, or teaches outside of their reference area without authorization.
  • Off the Field — Teachers are certified, but not in the subjects they teach.
  • Trainee — Teachers.

Statewide, 83.1% of classes or courses in the past school year were taught by teachers who were fully qualified with the appropriate state diploma in the subject, while 4.1% of them had no degrees or only had an emergency education license. The others are either classified as off-field or intern.

Every county in the Bay Area had more education from ineffective teachers compared to the state, except in Santa Clara County, where 4% of classes or courses are taught by ineffective teachers. At the other end of the spectrum, 11.8% of teacher assignments in Alameda County were classified as ineffective and in San Francisco, 9% were classified as ineffective.

The new dataset will provide a baseline for years to come and help state and local educators with plans to reduce the teacher shortage, according to a joint press release. from three agencies that released the data: read the California Department of Education, State Board of Education, and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

“When students are faced with incorrect assignments from teachers, they suffer and experience poor educational and career outcomes,” Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-South Los Angeles, wrote in an email Thursday. Jones-Sawyer introduced a related bill, AB 1219, to update state and school reporting systems to identify teachers assigned to classes they are not qualified to teach. He gave the example of the placement of a PE teacher instructing biology students.

“This further helps strengthen existing legislation that requires the worst-performing schools to report this information annually, not for punitive reasons, but rather to identify schools for targeted investments to drive improvement on behalf of vulnerable students,” Jones-Sawyer said.

In the same letter from the OUSD Superintendent, Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association, points out that while the data is now available to the public, the quality and shortage of teachers has long been a problem statewide and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

To meet the short-term need, at the beginning of the year, Governor Gavin Newsom briefly authorized schools to hire teachers who did not fall into the “clear” category deemed by the state. Schools were allowed to hire recent retirees or long-term replacements.

The plan got more teachers into the classroom, but didn’t solve the long-term solution of teacher quality.

“While this first-ever baseline dataset shows that a vast majority of teaching assignments are completed successfully, more work needs to be done to hire, train and retain teachers, especially in light of the national teacher shortage,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, chairman of the State Board of Education, wrote in a press release.

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