New Teachers Concentrated in Oakland’s Highest Need Communities

by Robbie Torney

Hannah’s first day of teaching fourth grade was ‘a whirlwind of energetic joy and panicked mistakes.’ But with coaching and other supports she was able to grow her skills and improved her classroom practices. Sadly, too many new teachers in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) have experience what Hannah did on her first day but have not received the coaching and support that they need to succeed.

This year, the Teacher Policy Fellows have been advocating for supports for new teachers to ensure that all Oakland’s teachers receive the kind of support that Hannah received from her principal and colleagues.  In this post I will share some data to shed light on why we must expand access to supports for new teachers by addressing  two basic questions:

  • How many new teachers are there in Oakland?
  • Where do they teach?

How many new teachers are there in Oakland?

Of the 2,185 teachers in Oakland Unified School District, about 1 in 5 teachers are new (OUSD Facts Facts, Ed-Data).

Where do these teachers teach?

While 1 in 5 teachers are new, East and West Oakland are significantly more likely to have new teachers than other areas of the city. Mirroring historic patterns of inequality in Oakland, more than half of new teachers (64%) are placed in East and West Oakland, areas with the highest levels of environmental stress factors such as high unemployment rates and high poverty levels. The high concentrations of new teachers in the East and West regions raise important equity concerns for students and important questions of how schools are being supported to provide the mentorship new teachers desire and need to prepare students to succeed in school, career, and life.

Graphic created based on OUSD Facts Facts, Ed-Data.

What’s next?

These facts are the foundation of a more important conversation that we want to start around how to support and retain teachers in our city. Later I’ll be taking a closer look at this information in light of OUSD’s data on teacher retention. Other Teacher Policy Fellow posts this spring will explore the impact on school sites, and outline our suggestions for OUSD that may help alleviate the inequities for Oakland students, and support and retain both new and veteran teachers.

Click here for details about the data and the analysis shared in this blog.

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