Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Short in subjects like foreign language, Tennessee cuts red tape for new teachers

The Tennessean reports that a teacher shortage in subjects including foreign language has prompted measures that make it easier for people to enter the teaching profession.

"Gov. Phil Bredesen's new Teach Tennessee program - which was unanimously approved Friday by the state Board of Education - will allow today's scientists, mathematicians and engineers to become tomorrow's teachers in a short period of time. In fact, anyone accepted into the program in the coming weeks could be teaching in middle and high school classrooms by this fall."

"The program gives people who have a lot of education, training and experience in a field they'd like to teach an ability to enter the classroom quickly without going through a traditional teacher program upfront. They'll go through a lot of scrutiny and training before they start teaching, but they'll have a mentor and a customized plan for wrapping up any necessary college courses while they're working with kids."

"All eligible candidates must have a bachelor's degree, at least 24 college hours in the field they want to teach and five or more years of related experience and pass screening tests and a criminal background check."

"Tennessee public schools have long struggled to find enough teachers in key areas such as math, science, special education and foreign languages."

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