May 8 | Los Angeles Daily News

By Bill Lucia

California’s leadership in the nation and world depends on public schools working well for every child. Yet we’re in the midst of the state’s worst teacher shortage on record.

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has plummeted 76 percent over the past decade, and nearly three-quarters of school district have hiring difficulties.

This is alarming, since teachers are the most important factor in student learning. Today’s shortage is structural, with nearly a third of teachers departing within their first five years and leaving at far greater rates in high-poverty schools. That’s 50 percent higher turnover than is seen among California’s brave first responders. According to state data, nearly 4,600 new teachers — across all subjects — must be hired in Los Angeles County alone this fall.