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A Survey of State Initiatives: Massachusetts

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Massachusetts may be one of the few states with a surplus of mathematics and science teachers, according to the state department of education, because so many were laid off after the enactment in 1980 of Proposition 2, the property tax-limitation measure.

Nevertheless, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has established a teacher-retraining program in math and science, and interest in the program has far exceeded the available openings, according to Gerard Indelicato, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's special assistant for education.

Mr. Indelicato contended that despite the reports of a teacher surplus, it is unclear how many laid-off teachers would return to the classroom if called back. Governor Dukakis's budget, which has not been approved by the legislature, requests $250,000 for training and retraining teachers, he said.

The department of education will set up a science and math clearinghouse that will collect and distribute information on teachers, jobs, exemplary programs, and equipment beginning in the fall of 1983. The clearinghouse will also involve industry and will help to promote personnel-exchange programs in the schools, according to Terry Zoulas, spokesman for the department.

Mr. Indelicato said the Governor has set up, and will chair, a commission to study elementary and secondary education. That commission, whose members were appointed in June, will make recommendations on school finance, curriculum and assessment, school climate, teacher-certification standards, merit pay for teachers, public-private partnerships and the relationship between technology and education.

The Massachusetts Board of Regents voted in May to raise admission standards to the state's colleges and universities. The new standards require college-bound students to have four years of English, three years of math, two years of science, and two years of a language. The state board of education now requires students to take physical education and one year of American history or civics.

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