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Wright Assessing Need for a National Teacher Clearinghouse

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Washington--Undersecretary of Education Linus Wright is said to be pondering the need for a national clearinghouse that would match school districts in search of teachers with qualified applicants.

The idea for the program came from conflicting research regarding whether there is a teacher shortage.

According to Magee Whelan, special assistant to Mr. Wright, many state and district officials say they have a shortage of teachers in a particular field, such as mathematics, or in a particular geographic area.

But there may be qualified individuals elsewhere in the nation who would be willing to fill those jobs, she said, including people from the military or from business who are interested in a teaching career.

The proposed clearinghouse would list people who are not now teaching, but who are thinking about teaching as a second career. It could include those who would qualify to teach under alternative-certification programs.

According to Ms. Whelan, the clearinghouse might receive some federal support, but it would not be a federally run operation.

"This is such a seed, it has not yet even germinated," she said.

Mr. Wright is asking educators to let him know if such a clearinghouse would be useful. Comments should be sent to the U.S. Education Department, Office of the Undersecretary, 400 Maryland Ave. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202.

The undersecretary is leaving his post on the 20th of this month to head the education division of Paul R. Ray & Company, a Dallas-based recruitment firm that specializes in the recruitment of college presidents and deans.--lo

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