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Public-Service Drive Seen Drawing Minority Teachers

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A national public-service campaign to recruit teachers continues to attract a high percentage of minority-group members and men, although the rates for males have tapered off somewhat since its inception, a study released last week concludes.

The study, conducted by Louis Harris for Recruiting New Teachers Inc., is based on interviews last summer and fall with 2,750 individuals who had called the campaign's 800 number between 1988 and 1992 and then returned response cards so their names could be entered into a data base of prospective teachers. About 196,000 people, or 29 percent of the 687,000 individuals who called the hot line during that period, returned the cards.

Based on the survey data, the study estimates that 40,000 of the 196,000 respondents had entered the teaching force, and that about one in four of that group was a member of a minority group.

Furthermore, it extrapolates from the survey data that another 75,000 individuals were "actively pursuing'' a career in teaching.

Among those surveyed, 20 percent were certified teachers, and another 6 percent had been employed as teachers but had been laid off. Of the rest, 36 percent had applied for teaching jobs, and 9 percent had completed teacher-education programs and were awaiting certification.

In addition, 16 percent had applied to teacher-education institutions, 12 percent had been accepted to such a program, and 17 percent reported no longer being interested in teaching.

David Haselkorn, the president of Recruiting New Teachers, said he believes the high participation rate among minority-group members disproves "the myth that we can't fund enough teachers of color.''

The study estimates that 10,256 minority-group members who called the hot line have since become teachers, representing about 16 percent of all minority teachers hired during the past four years.

"We believe we need to not only improve the quality but the diversity of the teaching profession,'' Mr. Haselkorn said. "We have tried to create public-service advertising that appeals to a broad spectrum of potential candidates.''

Also, he said, the campaign, which is co-sponsored by the Advertising Council, has "gone out of the way to make it clear that not only are teachers of color welcome in the profession, they are increasingly needed.''

Response From Men

Noting that men make up 31 percent of the current teaching force, the study estimates that about 41 percent of the callers who have entered teaching are men.

However, the study found, a lower percentage of men responded to the campaign last year than in its initial phase. About 39 percent of those interviewed who had called the hot line last year were men, compared with 49 percent in 1988-89, the inaugural year of the campaign.

Mr. Haselkorn attributed the decrease to changes in the campaign's ads. In the first two years, he said, all the teachers shown in the ads were men; in the most recent phase, the ads have included both men and women.

The campaign has been successful in attracting members of minority groups, said Andrew Calkins, the executive director of Recruiting New Teachers, because it "is able to provide resources and contacts to them and inspiration that they evidently aren't finding anywhere else.''

The study concludes that about half the callers had already been considering a career in teaching and that the public-service campaign "simply crystalized that latent desire and helped them channel their efforts.''

"All of us who've been doing survey research [on teacher recruitment] are finding the same thing,'' said Emily Feistritzer, the president of the National Center for Education Information, a private research organization based in Washington. "There is a lot of interest in teaching, and ... these people really want to improve education; they're enthusiastic, eager, and willing to do whatever they need to do to become a teacher.''

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