If It Works in California, It Could Work in Missouri, Too
Here’s a chart of Missouri’s teacher shortage areas from 1997 to the present. The list keeps getting longer, and there’s some variance from year to year, but math and science are always a high priority. Other states suffer from math and science teacher shortages too. One of them California is trying to solve the problem with a new approach:
The EnCorps Teacher Initiative kicked off a campaign to help career-switching baby boomers from a dozen companies become math and science teachers.
The innovative program hopes to place 200 new teachers in California classrooms this September. Applications are due by March 14.
This is not a volunteer program or a combination of part-time work and education courses. New teachers in the program are in classrooms full-time, where they receive hands-on, relevant training. The only program comparable to this in MIssouri is alternative teacher certification, which still calls for a lot of theoretical courses (and so is less attractive for career-changers who want to get right to work). The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also hasn’t promoted it to scientists so forcefully as California is spreading the word about EnCorp.
It will be interesting to see whether California can meet its goal of persuading 200 former scientists to take up teaching this year. If it does, Missouri might want to try the same thing.