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A Survey of State Initiatives

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The New Hampshire legislature has failed to act on a bill that would have allowed state colleges and universities to offer tuition-waiver contracts to teachers in mathematics, science, and industrial arts.

The students would have received a tuition-free education if they agreed to teach in a state school and would have been required to repay their tuition if they failed to fulfill the agreement.

The tuition-waiver bill was tabled in June, along with one that would have established a forgivable-loan program, because the state did not have the money to fund the programs, according to Fernand J. Prevost, science consultant for the department of education. College and university officials estimated that they would have lost about $300,000 a year in tuition payments because of the program.

Mr. Prevost said the state needs 80 to 100 math teachers and 60 to 80 science teachers. Those figures include positions now filled by teachers either with emergency certificates or who are certified in other subject areas. The University of New Hampshire has developed a transition program for teachers certified in one subject area who would like to teach in another area such as math or science. The program, however, contributes only a handful of graduates, officials say, because it does not receive state support.

Because 90 percent of the high schools, 70 percent of the middle schools, and about 60 percent of the elementary schools in the state have at least one microcomputer, according to Mr. Prevost, the New Hampshire Association of Computer Education Statewide--a group established several years ago--is assisting schools with information on the use of computers in the classroom.

The organization matches the needs of the schools with the proper resources and offers speakers and workshops for computer-science teachers, many of whom also teach math. Area colleges and universities are providing inservice computer training and summer programs.

The state board of education is considering new standards for middle-school teachers that would require coursework in math and computer science.

The state board of education has also established a state commission on excellence in education to examine the report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education and its application to the state's public-school system. The commission is expected to issue an interim report in October and a final report, with recommendations, in January.

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