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Good Schools for All: Where Are the New Teachers?

There’s a major teacher drought in California. More teachers are retiring and fewer folks are entering the teaching profession — even as the demand for teachers increases.

We need a lot more teachers.

Fewer folks want to be teachers, even as the demand increases. In San Diego County, about 32 percent of teachers are 50 years old or older. As more teachers retire, we have to replace them.

On this week’s podcast, Heather Lattimer, associate professor at the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, joined host Laura Kohn to talk about ways to recruit students into the teaching profession.

Lattimer said the education field is in a battle to attract students – despite financial concerns and stigma surrounding the career choice.

“The larger issue that I hear over and over is, ‘Why do you want to become a teacher?’ I hear that from students,” she said. “I also hear it from students’ parents. Often the students that we encounter who are interested in teacher education and becoming teachers have to combat their parents who are concerned that, ‘Hey, this isn’t going to be something where you’ll be able to A, earn the money, but B, have the respect that we think you deserve.'”

Only about 5 percent of nationally surveyed college-bound high seniors say they’re interested in entering the education field, the lowest percentage in decades, Lattimer said.

Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn also discuss the 30 percent decline in teacher credentials by San Diego County’s higher education institutions between 2010-2011 and 2014-2015 fiscal years.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Number of the Week

22,000: The total statewide teacher shortage California school districts anticipate for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.

What’s Working

The San Diego Unified School District created a teacher pipeline task force a few years ago to improve teacher recruitment, retention and evaluation methods. The pipeline is designed to encourage and support students in the district to enter the education field and return as teachers.

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