In Broward County, Florida, inner-city high school students are training to become teachers, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Bonnie Stacy and others in the UTAP program are being groomed in teaching techniques and classroom theory and paired off with teacher mentors; they hone their skills on elementary pupils. After high school, they move on to community colleges and universities for a four-year, tuition-free teaching degree with a guaranteed job at the end – possibly even back at their own stomping grounds.
Teaching the kids “classroom theory” seems premature. I’ll bet what really motivates these students is the chance to be in a special program with college expectations and a clear path through college to a job.
UTAP is expected to yield 150 graduates a year to work in some of the county’s 101 underprivileged schools.
. . . With their own inner-city backgrounds, UTAP trainees are considered by many to be better equipped to handle the challenges of teaching in poor urban schools: For one thing, they’re immune to the ‘culture shock’ that is often blamed for high turnover among other new recruits.
Enrollment is rising in many states, while baby-boomer teachers are retiring. Tennessee is trying to lure mid-career switchers and teachers from other states, the Monitor says, while Texas and South Carolina are importing teachers from overseas and Alabama is going after retirees. Nevada is eyeing military retirees and full-time mothers as potential teachers.