Combating the teacher shortage

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2006

To the editor:

Attracting applicants for teaching positions has become competitive nationwide. Some school districts are offering hefty signing bonuses to lure teachers.

We live in a capitalistic society, and competition is one of its major characteristics.

In the American economy, competition refers to the many things that businesses will do to attract customers.

Many school districts have begun to offer various incentives to attract the limited supply of qualified teachers.

The shortage of qualified teachers who are ready for employment in America’s classrooms is becoming a national crisis.

Experts predict that over the next ten years the nation will need 2.2 to 2.4 million teachers.

Oftentimes, students are taught by substitute teachers an entire school semester. Yet, the same pupils are expected to pass rigorous standardized examinations.

Our federal government needs to exert its influence on training public school teachers.

Presently, the national government provides a number of necessary public services: defense of the country, help for the poor, the administration of justice, and so on.

The national government should enact legislation to recruit and train teachers with the same vigor as the No Child Left Behind Act for accountability.

The country needs a national teacher corps where students who have an education major in college and maintain an acceptable grade point average will receive a stipend and free tuition.

After graduation, the corps’ members will teach in America’s public schools for at least five years.

If no action is taken now to alleviate the teacher shortage, rural poor school districts will continue to be at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting qualified teachers.

The affluent school systems that can offer lucrative incentives will have “first choice” at hiring new teachers.

Every student in America should be afforded a quality public education, regardless of his/her family’s economic status or geographic location.

Gerald Shirley, Principal

School of Discovery