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Florida educators have devised a new way to boost the size of their mathematics and science teacher corps.

Beginning next fall, approximately 75 retired naval personnel, drawn largely from the Pensacola Naval Air Station, will enter the state's public schools, after being trained and certified at the newly formed University of West Florida Navy Certification Program.

The program is the brainchild of a member of the Florida Board of Regents, William Maloy, who saw an opportunity to combine the schools' needs with those of the retirees who want to continue working in their subject areas, said Pat Wentz, director of teacher certification at the university's education school.

The participants, most of whom are men, are about 45 to 48 years old and have worked as pilots, computer specialists, engineers, curriculum planners, and military instructors, Ms. Wentz said.

Many also hold high ranks; in her class, Ms. Wentz taught three captains and two commanders. "It's exciting to see people of this caliber interested in going into the classroom. ... They are extremely interested in the changes coming about in education. Their primary motive is to see stronger academics."

Under the program, night classes are held twice a week and participants pay their own tuition. Almost all have bachelor's degrees and are preparing to teach either mathematics or science, Ms. Wentz said. For further information, contact Ms. Wentz at (904) 474-2945.

Foreign-language teachers and those suffering from wanderlust may enjoy perusing the revised edition of The Teachers' Guide to Overseas Teaching, a directory of more than 1,000 English-speaking schools in 150 countries.

Some 6,000 vacancies open up annually in these schools because they utilize short-term contracts, according to the guide's author, Louis Bajkai. About 8,500 public-school teachers teach abroad each year.

Even small and little-known countries may have suprisingly large numbers of English-language schools--Botswana, with nine, or Papua New Guinea, with 27, for instance. More American teachers are now going to Japan, said Mr. Bajkai. Japan's 54 English-speaking schools are seeking more and more English teachers; private tutors are also in high demand "to teach Japanese business executives and their children," he added.

For further information, contact Mr. Bajkai, Friends of World Teaching, P.O. Box 1049, San Diego, Calif. 92112-1049; (619) 274-5282.

Michigan suffered the largest exodus of classroom teachers of any state during the last decade, although its drop in student enrollment was smaller than that of some other states, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The number of teachers declined from 92,000 in 1972-73 to 78,750 last year--a 14.4 percent drop, according to the figures. Enrollment declined 19.7 percent.--ha

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