Need for Foreign Language Teachers
The global economy will increasingly require New York citizens to have knowledge of languages and cross-cultural competencies in an increasing number of languages and associated cultures. To prepare New York State students for this reality, the New York State Learning Standards, State assessments in languages other than English, and college programs that prepare these teachers emphasize achievement of language proficiencies and cross-cultural competencies. In addition, school districts across New York State are responding to public demand for providing opportunities for students to study languages and culture beyond those traditionally offered in public schools. This requires the districts to seek appropriately certified teachers to enhance and expand instruction in these additional languages. Districts attempt to meet such demands for language instruction in many ways, including:
- Expanding language choices (adding low incidence languages to the list of district offerings);
- Extending LOTE to the lower grades through Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) and through Bilingual, and Dual Language or 2-Way Immersion Programs;
- Offering upper level college/AP sequences.
Shortages of LOTE teachers
In school years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, supply and demand data reported to the Board of Regents showed that there were shortages of teachers of languages other than English in every region of the State. Students were less likely to have highly qualified teachers in their foreign language classrooms than in any other core academic subject classroom. In 2006-07, nearly every large city and Need/Resource Capacity category of districts had more than five percent of classes in languages other than English taught by teachers who were not highly qualified.