For at least the last two years, roughly 40 percent of Oakland’s new teachers have come from partnerships with organizations such as Teach For America or the Oakland Teaching Fellows. Some have even come from Spain.
(I originally asked about the total make-up of Oakland teachers — not just new hires — but the question might have been misunderstood. So thanks, Steve Weinberg, for raising the question. I’m still waiting to hear a definitive answer.)
In any case, 40 percent of new hires is a high rate, and folks on the city’s teaching task force are looking for ways to lower the school system’s reliance on such partnerships. They argue that people who live in the area and who are already committed to Oakland are more likely to stay in the system for longer – which would reduce the amount of turnover.
By contrast, the recent college grads from Teach For America are asked to stay just two years.
One major challenge, I’d think, would be to find enough people who are credentialed to teach — especially in hard-to-staff areas, such as math, science and special education. Even with help from those organizations, the district had 50 teaching vacancies as of Saturday.
We’ll see what comes out of this initiative.