A Survey of State Initiatives
Kentucky, whose officials report a shortage of mathematics and science teachers but do not have exact figures, was one of the first states to institute forgivable college loans for prospective teachers in those fields. Established by the 1982 General Assembly at a cost of $610,000 over the 1982-84 biennium, the program provided aid to about 105 students in the 1982-83 school year; nearly half of them have already graduated. About 150 full-time students are expected to take advantage of the program next year, and an undetermined number of teachers have received smaller loans for summer-school courses.
A legislative panel is considering the state board of education's recommendation that the number of credits required for high-school graduation be increased to 20, including a third year of math. Two years of both math and science are now required. The state Council on Higher Education has already raised admission requirements for state universities from 18 to 20 credits, including at least three years of math (which must include algebra and geometry), and two years of science (one year of which must be biology, chemistry, or physics).
Two hundred-fifty high-school students from around the state are studying this summer on the campus of Centre College in Danville under the auspices of the Governor's Scholars Program. Focusing on math, science, and economic development, the institute is funded with $150,000 in state money and $150,000 in donations from business and industry. The program will be repeated next summer.
The state education department is also providing $25,000 in scholarships this summer so that each of the state's 180 school districts can send one person to a public university for a computer course. In addition, the state agency has hired its first full-time computer-education specialist and spent $18,000 to subscribe on behalf of school districts to the Educational Products Information Exchange. The state "very strongly recommends" but does not require that districts offer computer courses.
Each of the state's postsecondary vocational-technical schools is getting a computer laboratory, under a $1.4-million project of the education department. Another $750,000 will be spent this summer for computer-assisted drafting equipment for the technical schools.