Column One: California Teachers

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California teachers who have lost their jobs or are in danger of doing so are being urged to consider joining the Peace Corps, which has launched an aggressive recruiting drive for out-of-work teachers from its San Francisco office.

"I see it as a win-win situation," said Joseph Therrien, area manager for the region, who pointed out that, rather than leave teaching, laid-off teachers can sharpen their skills and gain unique experience in two-year stints in classrooms overseas.

Mr. Therrien, who has been making presentations to superintendents and teachers' union officials in 48 counties, says his pitch has generated "a steady stream of calls and inquiries."

While teaching in poorly equipped schools in developing nations is certainly not for everyone, he concedes, becoming a Peace Corps volunteer has its advantages. The classroom experience fulfills the student-teaching experience required for a California license, for example, and volunteers are permitted to defer their student loans.

And although Peace Corps volunteers are paid very modest wages, they have the opportunity to work with students who are eager to absorb knowledge and who hold teachers in much higher regard than is common in this country, Mr. Therrien added.

"They understand that what the teacher has to give them is effectively a key to a better life than their parents enjoyed," he said.

All of the Peace Corps's 15 regional offices will accept applications for teaching positions; about 900 teachers will need to be hired by April to fulfill requests from developing countries.

For more information, call Mr. Therrien collect at (415) 744-2677 or contact a local Peace Corps office.

The Educational Testing Service and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification are developing a nationwide data base of information about state requirements for teacher licensing.

The project marks the first time that such information has been compiled in a central data bank, according to E.T.S. officials.

By next fall, institutions and individuals will be able to gain immediate access to licensure requirements by using a touch-tone telephone or computer data-base service. The information also will be updated regularly by state education departments.

The current data base includes content-area requirements for 30 teaching areas and standards for 49 professional associations.

Donald Hair, executive director of NASDTEC, called the system "the realization of a dream." --A.B.

Vol. 11, Issue 02, Page 6

Published in Print: September 11, 1991, as Column One: Teachers
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