Bay Area suffering from wide spread teacher shortage

Lyanne Melendez Image
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Bay Area suffering from wide spread teacher shortage
With just one week until school starts, Oakland Unified is still looking to hire more teachers-- and Oakland isn't the only district with a teacher shortage. The supply and demand factor is only going to get worse.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- These are exciting times for Rebecca Bootes, a kindergarten teacher at Prescott Elementary in Oakland. This is only her second year on the job.

"I'm naturally an optimistic person so I'm coming in very excited with lots of new ideas, very fresh I feel like," expressed Bootes as she began setting up her classroom.

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Teachers in Oakland began a week of settling in, while the district is still short of teachers.

"We have about 27 openings currently, our talent staff, our recruiting staff is working feverishly trying to find new folks," said School District Spokesperson, John Sasaki.

San Francisco Unified has only met 93 percent of its demand. "Because of pay and needing to maintain housing in San Francisco, it's a really hard decision to continue this work and stay in the city," said Gabriela Lopez who is a San Francisco School Board member.

The teacher shortage is not exclusively a problem in Oakland or San Francisco or any other Bay Area city. It is a national problem that will only get worse.

According to a report written in the Economic Policy Institute, the projected supply of new teachers in the country will clearly not meet the demand.

Also needed are special education teachers.

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"We need to make sure that instructionally they are served properly but also having the counseling support as well and not everybody can do it," explained Enomwoyi Booker, the school principal at Prescott Elementary.

Some suggest offering more financial support and incentives for college students who are thinking of majoring in education.

"There is a lot of that struggle but you really have to be in it, you really have to love what you're doing, have enough support from the people you are surrounded by," said Bootes.

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