The school year is about a month in, and at schools across the state, hallways are lined with bulletin boards, homework is being sent home, and the business of the school year is well upon us. Teachers and students are working on initial relationships and paving the road for a year full of learning and joy. Unfortunately, for hundreds of students in Sacramento, the back to school season that should be underway is on halt as there are a total of 100 vacancies within the district. This means that there are hundreds of students in Sacramento that are being taught by either a substitute teacher, another district employee, or being added to already large sized classrooms at their schools.
In a recent interview with KCRA, a spokesman for the Sacramento City Unified School District, Alex Barrios stated, “…there are 46 classroom teaching vacancies currently being filled by substitute teachers, plus 24 vacancies in nonclassroom positions like counselors, nurses, psychologists and librarians.” While these “nonclassroom” district employees are busy watching over classrooms that should be filled with a teacher, their own responsibilities are piling up, leading only to the further disservice to the students within the district. The consequences of the high level of teacher vacancies are creating a domino effect within the district.
Teacher shortages within California and within the country are not new. Last school year, there were many teacher protests around the country calling attention to the conditions that teachers are facing, which some say are contributing to people leaving the profession. Forbes recently published an article on the shortage and added that “calling the situation a “teacher shortage” suggests…that there simply aren’t enough people out there who could do the job. There is no reason to believe that is true. But pretending that it is true sets up justification for a variety of bad “solutions” to the shortage.” The article goes on to point out that lowering the expectations for teachers just to have a body in the classroom with students is only aggravating this problem.
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