Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional)
ROHNERT PARK, Calif. — In a stark about-face from just a few years ago, school districts have gone from handing out pink slips to scrambling to hire teachers.
Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.
At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.
Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.
Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I., are among the large urban school districts having trouble finding teachers, according to the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts. Just one month before the opening of classes, Charlotte, N.C., was desperately trying to fill 200 vacancies.
据大城市学校理事会(Council of the Great City Schools)透露，目前面临师资紧张的大型城市学区还包括路易维尔（肯塔基州）、纳什维尔、俄克拉荷马城以及普罗维登斯（罗德岛）。距离开学不到一个月，北卡罗来纳的夏洛特市正在拼命填补两百个职位空缺。
Nationwide, many teachers were laid off during the recession, but the situation was particularly acute in California, which lost 82,000 jobs in schools from 2008 to 2012, according to Labor Department figures. This academic year, districts have to fill 21,500 slots, according to estimates from the California Department of Education, while the state is issuing fewer than 15,000 new teaching credentials a year.
“We are no longer in a layoff situation,” said Monica Vasquez, chief human resources officer for the San Francisco Unified School District, which offered early contracts to 140 teachers last spring in a bid to secure candidates before other districts snapped them up. “But there is an impending teacher shortage,” Ms. Vasquez added, before correcting herself: “It’s not impending. It’s here.”
“我们不再处于一个裁员的局面了，”旧金山联合学区(San Francisco Unified School District)的人力资源主管莫妮卡·瓦斯克斯(Monica Vasquez)说道。该学区在去年春季赶在其他学区之前为140名教师提供了提前录用合同。瓦斯克斯女士补充道：“然而目前面临的是即将到来的师资短缺。”她然后更正自己：“这不是即将到来，而是正在发生。”
With state budgets rallying after the recession, spending on public schools is slowly recovering, helping to fuel some of the hiring. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown persuaded voters in 2012 to pass a sales and income tax measure that raised funding for public schools.
But educators say that during the recession and its aftermath prospective teachers became wary of accumulating debt or training for jobs that might not exist. As the economy has recovered, college graduates have more employment options with better pay and a more glamorous image, like in a rebounding technology sector.
And that has led districts here — and elsewhere — to people like Jenny Cavins.
Ms. Cavins, 31, who once worked as a paralegal and a nanny, began a credentialing program at Sonoma State University here in Rohnert Park less than a year ago. She still has a semester to finish before she graduates. But later this month she will begin teaching third grade — in both English and Spanish — at Flowery Elementary School in Sonoma. Ms. Cavins said she would lean on mentors at her new school as well as her professors. “You are not on that island all alone,” she said.
31岁的卡文斯曾经从事过律师助理和保姆。不到一年以前，她在罗内特帕克当地的索诺马州立大学(Sonoma State University)开始教师资格认证项目。但这个月下旬她将在索诺马的弗拉里小学(Flowery Elementary School)讲授三年级英文和西班牙文。卡文斯说她将同时得到新学校导师和大学教授的指导。“你并不是孤身一人在那个岛上，”她说。
Esmeralda Sanchez Moseley, the principal at Flowery, said she could not find a fully credentialed — let alone experienced — teacher to fill the opening. “The applicant pool was next to nothing,” she said. “It’s crazy. Six years ago, this would not have happened, but now that is the landscape we are in.”
弗拉里小学校长艾斯玛达·桑切斯·莫斯里(Esmeralda Sanchez Moseley)说，她无法找到一个已经获得完全资格认证的教师来填补这个空缺，更别提一个有经验的。“几乎没有应聘者，”她说。“真是疯狂。六年前这种情况不可能发生，然而现在确确实实是我们的处境。”
Before taking over a classroom solo in California, a candidate typically must complete a post-baccalaureate credentialing program, including stints as a supervised student teacher. But in 2013-14, the last year for which figures are available, nearly a quarter of all new teaching credentials issued in California were for internships that allowed candidates to work full time as teachers while simultaneously enrolling in training courses at night or on weekends.
In addition, the number of emergency temporary permits issued to allow noncredentialed staff members to fill teaching posts jumped by more than 36 percent from 2012 to 2013.
At California State University, Fresno, 100 of the 700 candidates enrolled in the teacher credentialing program this year will teach full time while completing their degree.
在弗雷斯诺的加州州立大学(California State University)，700名教师资格认证项目的注册学生中有100名完成他们学位的同时，从事着全职的工作。
“We don’t like it,” said Paul Beare, dean of the university’s school of education. “But we do it.”
Some educators worry that as school districts scramble to fill empty slots, the quality of the teaching force could weaken.
“There are not enough people who will look at teacher education or being a teacher as a job that they want to pursue,” said Carlos Ayala, dean of the school of education at Sonoma State University.
Ashlee Pepin, 31, turned down several opportunities to work as a teaching intern while still earning education credentials at Sonoma State because, she said, she had seen the difference “between a teacher who is passionate and has a lot of skill, and a teacher who is just there.”
Ms. Pepin, who graduated in June, will begin teaching special education next week at an elementary school in Petaluma, north of San Francisco. “I wanted to make sure I was prepared,” Ms. Pepin said on a recent morning as she sorted through old textbooks in her new classroom.
Recruiters from Oklahoma City have traveled to Puerto Rico and Spain on the hunt for teachers, while in Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district in North Carolina, the superintendent, Ann Blakeney Clark, tells audiences at every community meeting she attends that the schools are desperate to hire. “I’ve gone on to say ‘Everyone in this room knows someone who was a teacher, who is a teacher,’” Ms. Clark said. “‘And I am asking you to email, text or call them and invite them to teach in Charlotte.’”
俄克拉荷马城的招聘人员已经远涉波多黎各和西班牙去寻觅教师，而在夏洛特-梅克伦堡学区，督察安·布莱克尼·克拉克(Ann Blakeney Clark)在每次社区大会上都向观众传达学校招聘的迫切。“我会接着说：‘如果你们知道谁曾经或者现在是教师，’”克拉克说道。“‘请通过电邮、短信或者电话邀请他们来夏洛特任教。’”
Last spring here in Rohnert Park, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, the superintendent, Robert A. Haley, found a creative way to fill a vacancy for an elementary school physical education teacher: He had his daughter’s high school cross-country coach fill in temporarily.
去年春天在旧金山以北大约50英里的罗内特帕克这里，督察罗伯特·A·哈里(Robert A. Haley)创造性地找到了一个填补小学体育教师空缺的办法：他让他女儿高中的越野教练来临时接任。
The coach, David Kimari, 26, who has worked as a home health aide and is studying kinesiology, will continue to teach P.E. this school year at two elementary schools in the district. He will begin taking teacher credential courses next January.
When Mr. Kimari started teaching, administrators gave him binders full of lesson plans left by his predecessors, and he asked a teaching friend in Oakland for advice. “I went into it like ‘Oh, man, I don’t know what I am getting myself into,’” said Mr. Kimari, sporting a tie-dyed bandanna and socks on a recent, scorching afternoon when he had assembled girls from the cross-country team for a summer conditioning session in a state park.
But he said that he realized that, “as long as you are passionate and as long as you can communicate with other people and you don’t give off hostile vibes, you can pick it up along the way.”
Linda Darling-Hammond, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University and head of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, said the United States should plan more for teacher shortages. “Other nations create incentives and supports in order to be able to fill the needs in a much more deliberate and conscious way,” she said.
In the near term, teachers may not yet be heralded with the fever pitch of first-round sports draft picks, but qualified candidates are in high demand. Earlier this spring, Ana Margarita Sanchez, a master’s degree student in the education school at Stanford University, chatted briefly with a recruiter from the San Francisco schools at a reception on campus. Two weeks later, the recruiter followed up with a 45-minute telephone interview, offering her a job on the spot.
在最近的这学期，尽管教师们还没有像首轮选秀那般被热捧，但合格的申请者依然供不应求。安娜·玛格丽塔·桑切斯(Ana Margarita Sanchez)是斯坦福大学教育学院的硕士生。今年春天早些时候，她在校园招聘中和旧金山的学校作了简单接触。两周之后，招聘者跟进和她做了45分钟的电话面试，然后当场提供了她工作机会。
“I was definitely taken aback by the intensity,” said Ms. Sanchez, 25, who will be teaching fourth grade at a bilingual elementary school later this month.
“The ball wasn’t really in their court,” she added. “It was in mine.”