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Number of Calif. Educators With Temp Credentials Doubled in Four Years

With enrollment in California teacher-preparation program still near historic lows, schools are increasingly turning to provisional credentials to fill in the gap. Teachers with these temporary licenses are three times more likely to be employed at schools with large numbers of nonwhite students.

Researchers at the Learning Policy Institute found that California issued more than 10,000 temporary credentials during the 2015-16 school year. That's more than double the number issued for the 2012-13 school year. The shortage is particularly acute in some subject areas. In 2016, nearly 40 percent of new math and science teachers entered the profession with provisional credentials, that's up from 20 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, 64 percent of new special education teachers lack full credentials. 

The researchers found that while teacher-preparation program enrollments are up 10 percent, current enrollment figures represent just a quarter of the number enrolled during the 2001-02 school year.  But not every school administrator is ringing the alarm bells. Leaders at Thrive Public Schools, a charter school operator in San Diego, see this trend as an opportunity to train new teachers themselves. They plan to launch their own teacher-residency program later this year, hiring new educators on temporary credentials and teaching them the craft while they are already working with students. 

"For people who are new into teaching, working alongside somebody and really doing an apprenticeship model is really exciting," Thrive Director Nicole Assisi told San Diego's KPBS. "I remember when I was a teacher. Year one, all of a sudden I finished my credentialing program, and here I was, alone in a classroom with 35 kids." 

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