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Peace Corps Launches Program To Attract Teacher Volunteers

The Peace Corps has launched an initiative aimed at boosting the number of practicing teachers volunteering for overseas assignments.

The strategy is to make the Peace Corps more appealing to teachers by allowing them to sign up for terms of service that are shorter than the two-year stint usually required, agency officials said in announcing the initiative last week.

Teachers choosing to participate in the new program, they said, will spend roughly one year in a host country training teachers, developing curricula, and providing a range of support services for two-year teacher volunteers.

The program "will enhance the Peace Corps' ability to provide host countries with the needed skills they seek,'' said Loret Miller Ruppe, the agency's director, "and provide participating educators with valuable international experience that will enhance their teaching and professional abilities when they return home.''

The program, she said, is part of the agency's effort to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers by 1992. Currently, there are 5,200 agency volunteers posted in 60 countries around the world.

Nine teachers from Virginia will be the first to take part in the new program. They will leave this summer for one-year assignments in Ghana and Fiji.

Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the National Education Association, joined Ms. Ruppe in announcing the initiative.

The union supports the program and has agreed to publicize it through its state affiliates and publications.

The U.S. Bureau of the Census has launched a new program to provide more localized data on such topics as education, business, and government.

Commerce Department officials announced this month that the new services will be provided under a pilot project involving 15 of the bureau's state data centers.

Examples of community-level education statistics that will be made available include school-age population, teachers per school, enrollment, and school financial activity.

The special services will be provided in the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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