California has a Spanish Teaching Shortage
Apparently, the Bay Area, as well as the whole state for that matter, has a shortage of Spanish teachers. California has fallen behind the rest of the nation in per-pupil spending for public education. California’s public middle schools have struggled to fund electives such as arts, music, and foreign-language classes. According to educators at Oakland schools, parents are particularly interested in adding foreign-language classes, such as Spanish classes, so that middle school children are prepared for high school and college foreign-language requirements. Mary Claire Delgado, Oakland Unified’s manager of recruitment, stated the following in regards to Spanish teachers,
We consider it one of the toughest courses to fill. If we have to scour the state, we will.
The shortage of Spanish teachers has even prompted Oakland school district officials to widen their recruiting efforts to find instructors in Mexico and Spain. Oakland residents passed Measure G1 in 2016, a parcel tax expected to raise about $12.4 million annually, to fund middle school electives. From those new funds, $4.3 million is specifically earmarked for the city’s public middle schools. However, the Spanish teacher shortage is also part of a much larger issue in the state. In 2016, the Learning Policy Institute, an educational research think tank in Palo Alto, reported that 75 percent of California school districts reported teacher shortages during the 2016-17 school year. According to the report, the lack of foreign-language instructors in California is a problem surpassed only by shortages in special education, math, and science classes.
The institute recommended that California offer more scholarships and loan-forgiveness programs that cover the cost of tuition and living expenses for teaching candidates to try and solve the teacher shortage. The institute also recommended reducing the time it takes to get a teaching credential to one year to speed up the process to become a teacher. Another recommendation was to eliminate barriers for retired teachers who would like to get back into teaching fields that have shortages. Hopefully, the overall teacher shortage is resolved before it begins to get worse in the state.