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To Make Up For Teacher Shortage, Los Angeles Unified Turns To Staff Who Left Teaching

A man in a navy suit and bright blue tie stands in the middle of the frame with a woman in the background holding up a cell phone for a picture.
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto Carvalho
(Sergi Alexander
Getty Images North America)
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L.A. Unified School District leaders are asking hundreds of qualified staff to move back into a classroom for the final eight weeks of the school year.

More than half of LAUSD’s classroom teaching vacancies are at high-need schools, according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. In many cases, substitute teachers — some of whom aren’t fully credentialed — have become the teacher. Carvalho says that’s not tenable.

“How in the world could you have kept somebody in the classroom who is not a credentialed individual?" Carvalho told LAist. "That is a violation of equity!”

So the superintendent has been implementing “a crisis solution to a crisis condition.”

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LAUSD staff who have teacher credentials — but aren’t currently in teaching jobs — are being moved back to the classroom. The news site L.A. School Report was the first to report on Carvalho’s plan.

There were 420 vacancies in classrooms two weeks before Spring Break. The district whittled that number down by freezing transfers of teachers out of the classroom. That left 234 openings that will be filled by credentialed teachers currently working in non-classroom roles.

Carvalho expects every class to have a credentialed teacher by the end of this week. In a statement, LAUSD’s teachers union said the moves show “how critical it is that [the superintendent] … attract and retain educators with better learning and teaching conditions.”

The district is also advertising a hiring stipend of $5,000 for newly hired credentialed teachers who elect to work in high needs schools.

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).