SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California students are back in school for the first time since their Thanksgiving break, but not all of them have teachers at the front of the class.
New data from an education research firm shows California ranks as one of the top states with the worst teacher shortage. One teacher in Sacramento said the shortage is the worst in the capital city.
With the Sacramento City Unified School District, it’s been a known problem. The district even asked the public to apply for full-time and substitute teaching positions last year.
And so far this year, teachers said work isn’t getting any easier.
“When teachers have to fight for everything, it gets fatiguing,” Ingrid Hutchins, a 2nd-grade teacher, said. “We kind of knew going into this year that it was going to be a lot worse.”
National education research firm, Scholaroo, collected new data to determine which states had the worst teacher shortages. California ranks third on its list. According to Scholaroo, there are about seven teachers for every 100 students in the state.
“Sac city unified is feeling that shortage more than any other district,” Nikki Milevsky, Sacramento City Teachers Union vice president, said.
Since the start of this school year, district officials said they’ve filled more than 300 spots, but the teachers union said students sometimes show up to class without a teacher being present.
“It happens all the time, unfortunately,” Milevsky said.
Milevsky said, right before Thanksgiving break, five classes at Hiram Johnson High were forced into the cafeteria since they didn’t have teachers.
Often, the union said teachers are forced to take on students from other classrooms and instruct them on the fly.
“All of a sudden you have five new kids put into your classroom for a couple days and you don’t have books for them, you don’t have supplies for them or plans for them. Sometimes they’re in a different grade level,” Milevsky said.
“No one wants to put up with that,” Hutchins added.
Hutchins said the anxiety of it is not often worth a teacher’s salary. She’s seeing more and more teachers opt for opportunities outside education.
“I wholeheartedly understand every teacher that needs to leave, but it does leave us with huge holes to fill,” Hutchins said.
Hutchins said she thinks students will experience a significant gap in education in the next few years if the shortage continues.
Many California students failed to meet math and English standards during statewide testing last spring.