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Foundation Injects $20.6 Million Into 'Pathways to Teaching'

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WASHINGTON--The DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund last week announced a $20.6 million expansion of its "Pathways to Teaching'' program, a national initiative designed to improve the recruitment and training of new teachers.

Some of the money will be used to help uncertified teachers, paraprofessionals, and former Peace Corps volunteers receive their certification. Other funds will support programs that encourage secondary school and college students to pursue careers in teaching.

With the expansion, the New York City-based foundation has quadrupled its investment in the Pathways program.

Since launching the initiative in 1989, the fund has given away some $6 million in grants. One grant, $1.2 million to two colleges at the City University of New York last year, is being used to train new teachers to work in particularly disadvantaged schools and to help paraprofessionals and uncertified teachers in those schools obtain their master's degrees. (See Education Week, March 4, 1992).

The DeWitt Wallace board decided to expand the program after reviewing the progress of previous Pathways grantees, Bruce S. Trachtenberg, a spokesman for the fund, said. "The signs became clear that this is the direction we needed to go.''

Under a $6.7 million grant awarded under the expansion, the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation will work with 11 Southern colleges and universities to help 975 uncertified teachers receive their certification.

The fund also awarded a four-year, $634,000 grant to Brooklyn College of the City of New York to help uncertified teachers in the borough's primary and middle schools become certified.

New York City's Bank Street College of Education also received a one-year, $495,260 planning grant to develop similar programs at schools in the Northeast and Midwest.

A $6.7 Million 'Godsend'

Under another component of the expansion, Morgan State University in Baltimore will receive a five-year, $3 million grant to develop a program to expose some 5,500 middle and high school students to careers in teaching.

Project leaders say they plan to develop an introductory teaching course that will be offered in all Baltimore high schools and to establish a magnet high school for teaching.

The fund also awarded a five-year, $2.9 million grant to Barnard College and the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education to establish the Institute for Urban Education, which will recruit and train undergraduates at selective liberal-arts colleges to become teachers.

Barnard and the consortium of 16 private liberal-arts colleges in the Northeast will also develop a prototype for training undergraduates to teach in middle schools.

The third segment of the expansion is a five-year, $6.7 million grant to the Peace Corps Fellows/U.S.A. program that will provide scholarships to about 800 former volunteers.

The grant, the largest ever received by the fellows program since its inception at Columbia University's Teachers College in 1985, will be shared by the fellows program and the 15 colleges and universities currently involved in the project.

At a Washington press conference last week, Peace Corps leaders said the gift will solidify the program's financial foundation.

C. Michael Timpane, the president of Teachers College, called the gift a "godsend.''

"If you have assured full funding for five years,'' he added, "you have gone to heaven without dying.''

Mary Barnes, an English-as-a-second-language teacher at Washington's Cardozo High School, said the aid will help defray 70 percent of her $14,000 tuition at a two-year E.S.L.-certification program at George Washington University.

"Being a Peace Corps volunteer, you don't make a lot of money,'' said Ms. Barnes, who served in the Peace Corps in Togo from 1988-91. "It's nice to have the support so you don't end up with debts.''

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