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A Survey of State Initiatives

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Gov. David C. Treen this month signed a bill that would encourage college students to study to become mathematics and science teachers, but has not acted on another bill that would encourage private firms to donate computers to schools.

The legislature passed a bill which would allow loans of up to $9,000 over three years to prospective mathematics and science teachers attending an education school in the state. Funding for that bill depends on bills pending in the U.S. Congress.

Students would be eligible for $3,000-a-year loans after their freshman year. The entire loan would be forgiven if the student taught in a Louisiana school for five years, said Gary Reed, the education department's legislative analyst.

The legislature also passed a measure that would provide tax credits to corporations that donate computers to schools.

The state last year faced a shortage of 21 high-school science teachers and 27 high-school math teachers, said Donald W. McGehee, supervisor of science and environmental education. He said that temporary certification was granted to 223 science teachers and 166 math teachers last year.

Physics and chemistry were the two "critical" areas of shortage, Mr. McGehee and other officials said.

In March, the state board of regents sent to parents of 8th-grade students a proposed course of study for college-bound students. The recommendations, developed by a state board of education task force last year, would require three years of study of both math and science--increasing by one year the current science requirement for graduation.

William Arceneaux, commissioner of higher education, said he expects that most colleges in the state will follow the standards within four years.

State Superintendent J. Kelly Nix in March appointed a blue-ribbon commission to study teacher recruitment and retention in all subjects, including math and science.

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