A recent study commissioned by the nonprofit Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning puts San Diego County fourth among the top-10 California counties with the most “underprepared” teachers.

Underprepared, as in the teachers don’t hold full California credentials in the subject they’re teaching. Maybe a teacher originally credentialed to teach English has been asked to pinch-hit a science class. Perhaps a teacher fresh out of college still has some coursework to complete before the final approval is given.

But let’s put the fourth-place ranking in perspective. Consider that San Diego County is the third largest county in the state, and the number of teachers here: 25,423 as of the 2005-2006 school year, according to demographics reported by the state Department of Education. Of that sum, 95.2 percent of San Diego County’s teachers are working with full credentials, outpacing teachers statewide, at 94.2 percent with full credentials.

Or, if you prefer the glass-half-empty scenario, 4.8 percent of San Diego County teachers are working with some sort of emergency or provisional credentials.

So, if you’re a parent, does the notion of an “underprepared” teacher concern you? If you’re a teacher, what’s your take on the credentialing process? Do you know any teachers who lack full credentials?

JENNIFER McENTEE

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