(Sacramento) Poor student achievement, particularly among Latino and African American students, makes it highly unlikely that California will be able to meet state and federal education requirements for student proficiency, according to a new report released today by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.

“While there has been some improvement in achievement over the past few years, the gap between where students are and where they need to be is alarmingly large,” said Margaret Gaston, Executive Director of The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. “California’s kids can’t get there without a continuing effort to build a high quality teaching workforce with the capacity and resources to improve student achievement.”

California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends finds the state falling far short of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) goal of 100% of students being proficient in mathematics and English by 2013-14. Less than half of all students were able to demonstrate proficiency on state tests in 2006, and about one-third of schools did not meet federal requirements for Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by NCLB. African American and Latino students have an even greater distance to go to meet the high academic standards the state has set for them. The gap between these students and their white and Asian peers is actually increasing.

“Student achievement trends strongly suggest that California is not going meet the proficiency requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation,” said Patrick Shields, Director of the Center for Education Policy at SRI International and the principal researcher for the report.

“Given the incredible hurdles the state faces in improving student achievement, there is an urgent need for highly trained and effective teachers. Meeting that challenge will require not only an increased focus on the quantity and qualifications of teachers, but on the quality of teaching.”

One place to start would be with an intensified effort to strengthen science and mathematics teaching for those already in the classroom. Only 38 percent of eighth grade students in California scored at proficient levels or above on state science tests, with wide disparities in achievement between African American and Latino students and their white and Asian peers. Achievement in mathematics is similarly poor, with 23 percent of secondary students demonstrating proficiency or above on the California Standards Test for Algebra I. Again, African American and Latino students have further to go to meet state standards. California also lacks a sufficient number of mathematics and science teachers, with the least prepared and experienced mathematics and science teachers concentrated in low-achieving schools serving poor and minority students.
The report also cautions state policymakers that the teacher shortage is far from over, warning that a drop in the production of credentials and declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs are warning signs worth watching in the face of escalating teacher retirements. Additionally, certain regions of the state — such as California’s Central Valley —are already experiencing shortages of fully prepared teachers, and high enrollment growth in those regions may only exacerbate the problem.

“As we issue this report, we want to give full credit to the Governor and members of the Legislature for the progress that was made during the last legislative session to strengthen the teacher workforce,” concludes Gaston. “But low student achievement and demanding requirements for improvement set a high bar for the state. Hitting the mark will require a continuing effort to strengthen the teacher development system to get highly skilled teachers where we need them the most.”

California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends is the latest in a series of annual reports on the status of the teaching profession presented by The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning with research conducted by SRI International. The report provides the latest available data and analysis of California’s teaching workforce. Key findings include:
Poor student achievement makes it unlikely California will meet requirements for student proficiency in key subjects.

*While NCLB requires that 100% of students be proficient in key subjects by 2013-14, on the 2006 California Standards Tests (CST), just 42% of California students were proficient in English language arts, 40% in mathematics.

*There is a persistent and widening achievement gap. 27% of Latino students were proficient or above on the English language arts CST and 30% were proficient or above on the mathematics CST in 2006. 29% of African American students were proficient or above in English language arts and 24% in mathematics. In contrast, 60% of white students and 64% of Asian students were proficient or above in English language arts. 53% of white and 67% of Asian students were proficient in mathematics.

*2,200 schools, making up about a quarter of all schools in the state, have missed their NCLB Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) targets for two or more consecutive years and face various sanctions.
California is unlikely to meet NCLB requirements for highly qualified teachers or equity

*Nearly 18,000 underprepared teachers were working in California schools in 2005-06.

*Of those, about 8,000 teachers were working on emergency credentials or waivers in 2006 and did not meet federal NCLB requirements for highly qualified teachers.

*Underprepared and novice teachers continue to be concentrated in low-achieving schools serving poor and minority students. In 2005-06, 21% of teachers in schools in the lowest achievement quartile were underprepared, novice, or both, compared to 12% of teachers in the highest achieving schools. 18% of teachers serving schools with high percentages of minority students were underprepared and/or novice, compared to 11% of teachers in schools serving few or no minority students.

Fewer than half of all students have reached proficiency levels in math and science, and there is a shortage of fully prepared math and science teachers

*38% of eighth-grade students scored at the proficient level or above on the California Standards Test (CST) in science in 2006. Proficiency rates were lower for Latino students (23%) and African American students (21%). By contrast, 55% of white students and 65% of Asian students scored at proficient levels or above.

*40% of students scored proficient or above on the mathematics CST in 2006. Proficiency rates were lower for Latino students (30%) and African American students (24%). By contrast, 53% of white students and 67% of Asian students scored proficient or above.

*23% of secondary students scored at proficient levels or above on the Algebra CST in 2006. Just 14% of Latino and 11% of African American students scored at proficient levels or above.

*23% of middle school algebra teachers lacked an authorization for teaching mathematics. An additional 9% did not have any credential.

*11% of life science and 20% of physical science teachers in high schools were teaching out-of-field, meaning they did not have the appropriate credential for the subject they were teaching.

*16% of math and 14% of science teachers in middle and high schools serving predominately minority students were underprepared. 31% of teachers in schools with the lowest passage rates on the California High School Exit Exam for mathematics were underprepared compared with 17% of teachers in schools with the highest pass rates.
The teacher shortage is not over

*Due to retirements, California may need to replace as many as 98,000 teachers, or 32% of the current teacher workforce, over the next ten years. This does not include normal attrition.

*Seven of ten California counties with the highest percentages of underprepared teachers are projected to have student enrollment growth over the next seven years.

*Enrollment in teacher preparation programs declined by 9% from 73,211 in 2002-03 to 66,493 in 2003-04.

*12% of all teachers authorized to teach special education in 2005-06 were underprepared. 45% of novice special education teachers were underprepared.

California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends also offers a series of recommendations to inform the work of policymakers and educators and improve the quality of teaching. A summary of these includes:

*Closely monitor the implementation of legislation enacted in 2006 designed to strengthen teacher preparation, recruitment, development and retention.

*Continue to build the capacity of California’s teacher workforce to provide for equity and student achievement.

*Build on the recommendations of the California Council on Science and Technology to develop a comprehensive action plan to address the critical shortage of mathematics and science teachers.
California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends was developed as part of the Center’s Teaching and California’s Future Initiative. Partners in the Initiative include California State University — Office of the Chancellor, Policy Analysis for California Education, University of California — Office of the President, and WestEd. The Stuart Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provided funding for the report.

The full report and summary materials are available on the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning website at www.cftl.org. Print versions of the report are also available. For additional information contact the Center at (831) 427-3628 or by email at info@cftl.org.

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