The Status of the Teaching Profession, 2005
Californians and their leaders have been distracted for too long by a budget crisis and a special election. Our attention must return to the challenges facing our schools. What we really need now is a meaningful public discussion about quality teaching and the urgent need to expand California’s ranks of excellent teachers. We need to talk about how we attract our best and brightest to teaching, how we prepare them to be most effective, and how we support them and keep them teaching as professionals.
We need to talk about making sure that California has the teaching force it needs for its 6.3 million students to succeed—because ensuring that they do succeed has never been more critical, and the stakes have never been higher.
It is time to have the public conversation about what it will take to ensure that all California students have the teachers they deserve. We need political courage and clarity. Our state needs to invest the kind of resources required to produce an education system of which Californians can be proud. Solutions demand bipartisan leadership, not political spin.
These are unusually strong words from us. We have a history of offering a straightforward presentation of data for policymakers with few rhetorical flourishes. For most of the past decade, we have issued annual reports on the status of California’s teaching profession, all of it based on solid research.
We present fresh research again this year. In some ways, the numbers are getting better—far fewer teachers are working on emergency permits, and more new teachers are earning credentials. However, this is a temporary reprieve. Our projections show that we are likely to face severe shortages again soon and that the pipeline for recruiting, preparing, and training teachers has substantial problems.
In this report, we offer a summary of the latest research and a brief set of charts and graphs that illuminate California’s teaching force.