Student Teacher Candidates on a Teaching Credential Crunch

NBC Universal, Inc.

A very troubling question is looming for school districts all over California -- when schools finally open, will they have enough teachers?

The current closure is preventing hundreds, possibly thousands, of student-teacher candidates from completing the requirements needed to get their teaching credentials.

Aiden Hill left a career as a technology consultant to pursue his dream of teaching. He would’ve graduated in May with a teaching credential from San Jose State University but then the pandemic arrived.

Like many of his 75 classmates, and more statewide, he can’t complete the required videotaped classroom session for teaching assessment because there are no classrooms in session.

“If you’re a biology teacher, how are you going to conduct lab experiments? Online?” said teacher candidate Hill.

Despite public pressure, including an online petition, the state commission on teacher credentialing did not waive the requirement but extended the deadline until fall.

The CTC also said if a candidate can get a provisional job teaching they can fulfill that requirements on-the-job.

“We’re going to have to roll the dice and see if we can come back in the fall,” said Hill. “And if we don’t get a job some of us may be forced to abandon our teaching careers.”

South Bay Assemblyman Evan Low is working with the governor’s office to try to get an executive order to modify the credentialing process.

“We know we are going to have smaller classrooms, we’re going to need that workforce and we don’t want to have Californians held in limbo to which they’ve held up their end of the bargain and we know there’s a significant need,” he said.

Low adds that right now, the tough part is making sure modifications don’t compromise the qualifications needed to be a good teacher but points out now is not the time to lose good candidates.

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