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OUSD Administrator denies teacher shortage

As OUSD Administrators say their is no teacher shortage in Orange County
OUSD needs qualified teachers-but for the first time fails to include the amount in its published Agenda
In the Orange Unified School District's March 14, 2019 Agenda, Item 12 A is the annual vote on the Declaration of Need for Qualified Educators  , but this year for the first time ever,  the actual report is not  included  in the agenda.

The agenda item on Agenda page 3 states:
" copy of the Declaration for the 2019-20 school year is attached"

The report does not, as in all previous years, follow the agenda description. The following page 4 begins the next agenda item.

Every year California requires school districts to file a declaration with the state called the Declaration of Need for Qualified Educators . The document must be filed before the state issues permits for non-qualified employees to teach in that school district.  

Currently, California is in the middle of a Teacher Shortage.

Every year, the Orange Unified School District Administration has included the required declaration as part of the March Agenda with the full declaration that is to be filed included with the Agenda Item.

Every year until this year. 

In the March 8, 2018 Agenda, the report showed 26 positions were reported on the Declaration of Need for Qualified Educators .
The March 2018 Declaration of Need for Qualified Educators 

The failure to include the Declaration of Need for Qualified Educators comes on the heels of OUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Ernie Gonzalez announcing that Orange County does not have a teacher shortage.

Gonzalez reportedly made the pronouncement at the March 6, 2019 Superintendent's Forum. The monthly meeting presents reports from OUSD Superintendent Dr. Hansen and Administrators to staff and teachers from across the district and answers questions. Sources at last week's meeting report that Assistant Superintendent Gonzalez in answering a question about OUSD being competitive in recruiting teachers during a teacher shortage declared that Orange County was not experiencing a teacher shortage like the rest of the state.  He reportedly offered no data to back up his assertion. 

Gonzalez's remarks were a big departure from now the now retired OUSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ed Kissee. Over the past two years, Kissee has acknowledged and worked on addressing OUSD's response to the statewide teacher and substitute shortage.

The new assertion from the OUSD Administration that there is no teacher shortage comes as OUSD is one of the few Orange County Districts that have failed to reach contracts with its two employee groups.   

The OUSD Personal Reports (included with each Board Agenda) show that for this school year-from August 2018 until this month-53 separations of  Certificated staff members have taken place with three months left until the end of the school year.

Long standing data of course shows that all of California and the nation has been in a multi-year long teacher shortage.  In California, that shortage has been exasperated by the cost of living, skyrocketing housing costs, baby-boomer attrition and an exodus of qualified teachers moving out of the state. 
For more information
Ed Source :California’s persistent teacher shortage fueled by attrition, high demand, say newly released studies

LA Daily News: California’s persistent teacher shortage fueled by attrition, high demand, say newly released studies

The Stanford University and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)  September 2018 Getting Down to the Facts II  research brief  ( a follow-up to the original 2007 paper)  lays out the seriousness of the problem:
"California is experiencing one of its most severe teacher shortages in two decades. Budget cuts and layoffs resulting from the recession contributed to a steep decline in the number of teachers in California, falling from a high of 310,362 teachers in the 2007-08 school year to 283,836 four years later.

"Recent efforts, including Proposition 30 and the Local Control Funding Formula, which, respectively, raised taxes for public education and transformed the state’s school finance method, have helped to regrow California’s teacher workforce. However, with sharp decreases in the supply of new teachers, there are still not enough qualified teachers across subject areas in many schools and districts to meet California’s staffing needs."

That Stanford/PACE research brief  clearly spells out the dangers for the state:
"This ongoing teacher shortage threatens recent education initiatives in the state—new standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessments—that aim to better prepare all students for college and careers.
For more information Getting Down to the Facts II  

In September of 2018, the non-profit Giving Compass reported:
"In California, which has the largest number of public school students in the US, 80% of districts reported a shortage of qualified teachers in 2017-2018, and nine out of 10 of those districts said the situation was worse than the previous school year.
For more information Teacher Shortages Are Worsening In Most States

However, the dangers for OUSD are greater. Data shows that without qualified teachers the yearly assessments scores drop. Even as OUSD rebuilds its facilities with bond monies, with adjacent district's all fighting for students because of declining enrollments, more parents will be looking at district state scores in selecting schools.  In 2001 when OUSD could not attract qualified teachers or administrators because of the refusal of the anti-public education OUSD Reactionary Board to increase pay, as the district sat on tens of millions in reserve funds, it took a voter revolt and then a decade of rebuilding to attract qualified teachers and administrators after the massive OUSD employee exodus.

In October of 2018, the Learning Policy Institution issued a much quoted report on the California teacher shortage crisis.  The report stated:
"A recent survey of school districts serving a quarter of the state’s student population found that more than 80 percent hired underprepared teachers in 2017-18. Many urban school districts reported to the Learning Policy Institute that they had hired high percentages of teachers in that year who were not fully certified, including Sacramento City Unified (34 percent), Stockton Unified (54 percent) and Fresno Unified (31 percent)."

For more information Teacher Shortages in California:Status, Sources, and Potential Solutions

For the top OUSD Human Resource Administrator to declare to teachers, staff and other administrators that there is not teacher shortage in Orange County, without data, is also hard to square with the national data and statistics. 

Even the national business sector has taken notice of the teacher shortage.

In December 2018, Forbes cited a Wall Street Journal article that analyzed federal data:
"If we want to improve society, we need a better educated populace and not hold out the possibility of excellent schooling only for those with the money to pay private tuition. But that is going to be a harder goal to achieve. A Wall Street Journal analysis of federal figures found that teachers are leaving the profession at the highest rate every."

"By the 12 months that ended in October 2018, one million workers, a tenth of all, left public education. This shouldn't be a surprise. Look at how many protests happened this year in states where teachers were fed up with low pay and classroom conditions like old textbooks, when they had enough to go around."
For more information 
Maintaining Education For All Gets Tougher As Teachers Leave In Record Numbers

As the teacher shortage started to reach critical mass  four years ago, the California Legislature started to take notice.  The highly regarded non-profit Calmatters reported in 2017 on those efforts:
"Lawmakers say California’s supply of new teachers is at a 12-year low because of a precipitous drop in students training to be educators, meaning the state is at risk of graduating too few teachers to meet demand.

"Experts blame the state’s rising cost of living and growing pressure to boost student performance on state tests. Research shows that concerns about salary and working conditions are deflating interest in the job."

Both the California Legislature and the federal government started to invest in programs to reduce the teacher shortage especially in critical areas that provide services to disadvantage student populations. 
For more information 
Lawmakers try to ease California’s teacher shortage

The CSU System in November 2018 announced winning a federal grant to address teacher shortages.  In announcing the grant, CSU reported  it was " to help address the state's teacher shortage and recruit diverse teaching candidate."  and to:
"...also focus on recruiting diverse and low-income teaching candidates, encouraging them to pursue high shortage fields of study like bilingual, STEM and computer science education, and partnerships with high-need school districts in teacher preparation and induction."
For more information
$26M in Awards Boost CSU Efforts to Reduce Teacher Shortage

Amidst teacher shortage new funds help districts train more bilingual teachers

As far as Orange County, Chapman University did not get the OUSD Human Resources memo that Orange County has no teacher shortage. In  November 2018 Chapman University announced state grants that is allowing it to partner with two Orange County Districts- Fountain Valley and Magnolia to initiate and expand teacher residency programs. Chapman University reports:
"Teacher Residency Capacity Grants will allow Chapman and its district partners to address California’s teacher shortage while preparing a diverse group of teachers who are dually licensed in special education (K-12) and elementary education (K-6)."
Local Solutions to California’s Teacher Shortage

The statewide teacher shortage has been exasperated by the cost of living in California. That is especially true in Orange County were housing prices are among the highest in the state.

Statewide  housing costs is a major contributor to the teacher shortage leading to the large exodus of current teachers leaving California.  The number one state for California's teachers relocating is Texas. In May 2018, the Sacramento Bee and the Orange County Register reported on exodus. The Bee reported
"From 2003 through 2016, about 18,000 more elementary and secondary school teachers left California than came from other states, according to a Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data. The worst losses were during the height of the housing boom, when home prices were peaking, but they have continued throughout the economic recovery."

"The state’s teacher ranks dwindled during the recession as funding dried up. Demand for teachers subsequently rose during the economic recovery.

"California school districts estimate they will hire about 21,000 new teachers next school year, according to the state Department of Education.

"About 11,800 teachers were credentialed through the state’s colleges during the 2016-17 school year, barely half the number credentialed a decade prior, according to the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

"A recent survey of school districts serving a quarter of the state’s student population found that more than 80 percent hired underprepared teachers in 2017-18. Many urban school districts reported to the Learning Policy Institute that they had hired high percentages of teachers in that year who were not fully certified, including Sacramento City Unified (34 percent), Stockton Unified (54 percent) and Fresno Unified (31 percent)."

For more information
California schools are short of teachers. One reason? They’re going to Texas

Another big reason for the California teacher Shortage

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the Consumer Price Index (CPI)  in the western United States increased 2.4% over the last 12 months.
Consumer Price Index,West Region — February 2019

For federal statistical purposes, Orange County is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana census area. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports:
"The annual increase in compensation costs in Los Angeles was 3.0 percent in December 2018, compared to advances that ranged from 3.8 to 0.6 percent in the three other metropolitan areas in the West (Phoenix, San Jose, and Seattle). Los Angeles’ increase in wages and salaries over this 12-month period was 3.7 percent. The other three western localities ranged from 4.1 to 3.7 percent. (See table 2.)

Changing Compensation Costs in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 

Lack of affordable teacher housing that has furthered the teacher shortage is resulting in some California districts to start building housing for teachers.  In January 2019, CNBC reported on the growing trend:
"California's housing affordability crisis has made it more difficult for school districts to attract and retain teachers, a large reflection of a problem affecting education systems across the country.

"The challenge of luring and keeping teachers is notoriously a problem for the San Francisco Bay Area, where housing prices are among the highest in the nation. But it's become a difficult issue in other areas of the state, as well, and it has led to some districts fighting back with affordable-housing measures and other relief efforts."

For more information
California's housing affordability crisis looms over the state's problems with teachers

Meanwhile, rents across California have also hit record levels:
"California cities hold five of the Top 10 spots. San Jose comes in third, Los Angeles fifth, followed by Oakland at No. 6 and San Diego getting the ninth spot. New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle and Miami finish out the rest of the Top 10.

This probably comes to no surprise for many in the Golden State who have watched rent prices in the Bay Area skyrocket in recent years. The median for a two-bedroom in the city is $4,630".


Zumper National Rent Report: March 2019

Ironically, despite the high cost of Orange County housing, the state's economic recovery, real estate data  shows Orange County actually lags behind the rest of the state.
For more information
Orange County housing indicators

 Housing in 2019 Orange County Register

The conclusion of the 2018 Learning Policy Institute Research Brief sums up the current statewide teacher shortage problem-that includes Orange County:
"If state funding continues to improve, and more individuals take an interest in teaching, a change will likely occur incrementally over the next few years. Nonetheless, shortages remain a major problem. The possibility of more teachers tomorrow does nothing to help students today. Even if teacher supply eventually adjusts to meet growing demand, that change could be years in the future. In the meantime, proactive policies are necessary so that the state’s most vulnerable students do not bear the cost.
For more information
Understaffed and Underprepared

It appears that OUSD maybe ready ignore history and deny the signs of a perfect storm brewing.  With the OUSD Administration again in apparent denial over retaining and attracting well qualified teachers and as the OUSD Board of Education again hordes educational  tax dollars, OUSD seems poised to repeat its dark history.

OUSD Budget: $49 million in cash
The OUSD Agenda Item 12 B is the state requires Second Interim Budget report.  Buried deep in the numerous pages of the report (Agenda page 18) is the current figures for OUSD. 

The report shows that the state required emergency reserve has ballooned to $8.9 million dollars. The current unspent cash is $ 40.36 million. For a total of  $49.2 million.

School districts must reveal their budget health and file with the county and state how healthy they are. OUSD will again file a "positive" report:
"The District will file a positive certification in regard to the ability to meet its financial obligations."

OUSD has never filed a negative fiscal report. Throughout the Great Recession, OUSD was one of the most fiscally sound districts in the state. Yet, it's administration has routinely predicted a fiscal cliff a few years out, even when the district is flush with cash like it is currently.

OUSD Public Relations costs
In February 2018 OUSD Trustees voted $219,424 for a Public Relations contract (Click on):
 OUSD VOTES $219,400 for PR

Here is what spending $219,424 of educational tax dollars on PR buys (For the latest in OUSD News on the web Click on): 
OUSD in the NEWS

Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm BoardRoom

For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

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This post first appeared on Greater Orange News Service, please read the originial post: here

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OUSD Administrator denies teacher shortage


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