- With an increasingly diverse student body in many parts of the country, and the growth of bilingual teaching programs, many school districts are facing a shortage of bilingual teachers to work with students, District Administration reports.
- School districts are using multiple ways to recruit bilingual teachers, including developing bilingual paraprofessionals into certified teachers, creating partnerships with state universities, adding bilingual education pathways to college-prep high school programs and recruiting teachers from overseas.
- The Sacramento City Unified School District in California is also offering special incentives to bilingual teaching candidates, such as financial assistance with certification costs, laptops, increased monthly stipends for living in the district and a $5,000 “diversity” bonus for candidates who have “worked for an organization that supports underserved students or who have pursued cultural or ethnic studies.”
A few decades ago, bilingual education was discouraged, and English learners (ELs) were expected to learn English as early as possible. However, bilingual education has been reinvented over the past few years. Districts are seeking bilingual teachers not only for the growing number of EL students in their classrooms, but also because they are also needed to teach in dual-language programs, which encourage students to develop biliteracy skills in preparation for working in a global economy.
However, as the need for bilingual education grows, teacher recruitment faces new challenges. There is a growing shortage among bilingual teachers, and that problem may worsen with the potential end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. And there are only so many teachers that can brought in from other countries to address this issue.
That is why many school districts are already pursuing other approaches, such as building pipelines of bilingual educators and offering new incentives to draw such educators into their district. As the race for bilingual educators heats up, school administrators need to be looking at their needs in this area, not just for the coming year, but for years down the line.