The Need for Teachers in California
This paper is a baseline analysis of how many teachers will be needed in California over the next 10 years. By baseline analysis, we mean that the authors have taken data on student enrollment projections and looked at several variables that affect the number of teachers available in the years to come. These variables include the expected rate at which new teachers come into the profession and the rate at which teachers retire. Both of these variables are difficult to estimate.
The baseline analysis that is presented does not try to include several critical events that have occurred in recent months that are critical to this policy discussion. First, the 1996–97 budget calls for reductions in class size in Grades 1, 2, and 3. Reductions in classes from 30 or more to 20 will require additional teachers in the coming years as the policy is phased in. This will increase the need for teachers beyond what is described in the pages that follows.
Second, teacher credentialing is an area of active policy development in California at this time. New options for prospective teachers have been proposed by researchers, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and legislators. Several bills on credentialing are pending in the state legislature at this time that look to change credentialing requirements and broaden the ways in which credentials can be earned.
These changes too will have a direct impact on the need for teachers in California and the authors of this paper have not attempted to analyze the likely effects of these changes.
While these complicating policy changes are not reflected in the analysis, the regional nature of teacher shortages is clearly demonstrated and will likely prevail even with the new policies that have been developed.