SF school district starts new year with massive teacher shortage

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
SF school district starts new year with massive teacher shortage
The new school year for the San Francisco Unified School district began Wednesday with a large shortage of teachers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The new school year for the San Francisco Unified School district began Wednesday. This year, the district has a large shortage of teachers. They had to shuffle around staff to make sure each classroom has a teacher.

"We met our teacher on Monday," said Terisha Staton, the mother of a daughter at Cobb Elementary. "Spoke to our teacher on facetime, and we were familiar with her face from last year so we are really excited."

Others around the district say they don't have the right teachers for certain subjects. The principal at Lincoln High School sent a letter to families saying the district cannot hire a teacher for Spanish, English, Math, Biology and Physics.

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Teachers, students and staff across 77 Oakland Unified elementary, middle and high schools are marking day one of the 2023-2024 school year.

Superintendent Matt Wayne was at Cobb Elementary for the start of school. He says he is unsure how many teachers they need. The district is also dealing with a decline in enrollment. He says the high cost of living in San Francisco makes it difficult to recruit new teachers.

"The city can be expensive," he said. "We are working on having additional teacher housing and making it affordable for teachers to be in the city and work here and support our students."

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The district is trying various methods to recruit new staff. They launched a new ad campaign in August to reach teachers seeking a new job, and others who earlier have not considered a job in education. They are also continuing a program that brings in interns who don't have credentials yet and letting them teach. The district would then help those interns obtain teaching credentials.

"The state has made it somewhat easier to on-board and we want to have multiple paths for people to become teachers," Wayne said.

VIDEO: Oakland families enjoy last day of summer before school starts, are optimistic about new year

The new school year for the Oakland Unified School District starts Monday. Last school year ended with teachers going on strike.

Parents in the district say the teachers that are here are great. They hope more can get hired.

"It is really important because every kid deserves a good education from the best teachers," Staton said. "They have some really good ones here at SFUSD so hopefully they figure out this shortage and get everything rolling."

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