The STEM Teacher Drought: Cracks and Disparities in California’s Math and Science Teacher Pipeline


Throughout California, educators are implementing new standards that are designed to better prepare students for college and career – yet schools are also dealing with a teacher shortage. Our new report, “The STEM Teacher Drought: Cracks and Disparities in California’s Math and Science Teacher Pipeline”, examines the shortage of qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers in California’s schools. Digging into the overall California teacher shortage, the report asks important questions about which types of districts suffer the most from a shortage of STEM teachers and finds patterns within the STEM teacher shortage and differences in which students are more likely to be taught by under-qualified STEM teachers. To address this shortage, the report also highlights bright spots, identifying districts with innovative and comprehensive teacher support programs and partnerships between districts and teacher training programs and presents recommendations on how to strengthen the STEM teacher pipeline.


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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.