Desiree Carver-ThomasMelanie LeungDion Burns

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers’ attention is increasingly focused on efforts to safely reopen schools for in-person instruction and address lost instructional time for students. However, critical teaching shortages, a challenge that predates the pandemic but has worsened in many districts since its emergence, may jeopardize schools’ ability to safely reopen or stay open.

Longstanding shortages, which are often most acute in high-need fields and high-need schools, appear to be growing more severe due to a range of pandemic-related factors, including rising early retirements and resignations and a reduced pipeline of incoming teachers. In California and across the country, many districts are meeting hiring needs with teachers on substandard credentials and permits or increasingly relying on substitute teachers, who are also in short supply.

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