Saturday, July 17, 2004

Sgt. Chips to Mr. Chips: Soldiers sought to teach

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - Ohio is recruiting new teachers from the military.

A program begun by the Ohio Department of Education is looking for teachers willing to work in urban and rural areas' public schools and teach math, science, foreign languages and special education.

"These teachers are in desperate need across the nation, and Ohio could become a national model for recruiting them," said Veronica Whetsell, director of Expanding the Pool of Qualified Teachers.

Veterans and military members can earn alternative teaching credentials designed to place them in the classroom faster while they continue to work toward their state teaching certificate.

The program, created by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in November, also offers up to $4,800 toward their state teaching credentials.

Qualified candidates must hold at least a bachelor's degree and be honorably discharged or serving honorably in the active, guard or reserve units of the military. Forty-three applicants have already been approved and 23 more are being evaluated, Whetsell said.

Initially, the program recruited solely in southern Ohio, partnering with Wright Patterson Air Force Base, several universities and Dayton schools.

This fall, it will expand into northeast Ohio as Cleveland State and Ashland universities join the partnership, said Whetsell.

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