Published Online: March 5, 1997

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Report Finds Mismatch in Teacher Supply and Demand

Colleges of education continue to churn out elementary education majors even though many recent graduates won't be able to find jobs, says the 1996 report on teacher supply and demand issued by the American Association for Employment in Education.

At the same time, the report documents the crisis that public schools face in trying to hire speech pathologists and teachers to work with students who are multiply handicapped, physically impaired, or suffering from behavior disorders, said John W. Schaerer, the president of the employment group, formerly known as the Association for School, College, and University Staffing.

"Like the old Soviet factory which turned out horse-drawn plows as the country begged for tractors, American colleges and universities seem somehow unable or unwilling to prepare men and women for the teaching jobs public schools are desperate to fill," said Mr. Schaerer, the director of personnel services for the Dalton, Ga., schools.

The teaching market remains a local one, influenced by state policies. Current efforts to reduce class size in California, for example, have created demand for certified teachers, the report notes. Other states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, reported a glut of teachers.

The report recommends that state education departments consider restricting the production of new teachers by insisting that preparation programs meet rigorous standards. Education students should pursue dual certification in elementary education and either special education or a foreign language, it says, and colleges should provide "thorough career services" to graduates.

Finally, college students and their parents should seek detailed information about the job market, the study says.

Copies are available for $5 for AAEE members and $15 for nonmembers from the AAEE, 820 Davis St., Suite 222, Evanston, Ill. 60201-4445.

Kentucky Teachers Found Lacking

Kentucky's new teachers find themselves well prepared overall for traditional teaching tasks, but lacking in the tools it takes to implement the state's education reform law, a study has found.

For "The Preparation of Teachers for Kentucky Schools: A Survey of New Teachers," the Frankfort-based Kentucky Institute for Education Research queried 1,066 of the state's teachers with less than three years' experience.

Six out of 10 teachers said that their college or university trained them well to teach in Kentucky schools, according to the survey. But the teachers said that they were much less ready to implement or participate in the programs and practices initiated by Kentucky's school reform law than they were to employ traditional teaching skills.

For example, only about one-third of the new teachers said that they were very well prepared to teach students how to write portfolios; only one-fifth said that they were very well prepared to make use of family- resource and youth-services centers. And four out of 10 responded that they were ill prepared to implement Kentucky's education technology system.

The report recommends that Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board support efforts to clarify the expectations of teacher candidates demanded by the far-ranging 1990 reform law. It also recommends that the state's teacher colleges undergo self-assessments and external audits to determine the extent to which their programs meet the requirements of the new law.

Science Workshops for Teachers Via Television

Science teachers who want some free tutelage on how to strengthen their techniques and make science as engaging as possible can just turn on the TV.

As of last week, the Annenberg/CPB Channel--available by satellite at no charge--began offering a series of live interactive workshops for K-12 science teachers. The workshops are to air Tuesdays, and repeat on Thursdays, for eight weeks through April 15.

Led by Kathleen Fisher, a biology and education professor at San Diego State University, each workshop focuses on one aspect of teaching science, such as helping elementary and middle school teachers who do not have a science background, eliciting students' prior knowledge about science, and assessing student learning. The workshops will also feature videotaped segments showing science teachers at work in their classrooms.

The workshops are part of the programming that the channel broadcasts Monday through Thursday during the school year. The channel targets the improvement of mathematics and science teaching and can be seen by anyone with a satellite dish or by arrangement with a local cable- television operator.

Launched in October, the channel now has a companion World Wide Web site that went on-line in December. The site is at www.learner.org/k12/acpbtv.

The channel is part of the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project. To create the channel and Web site, the math and science project has joined with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications. For more information, call (800) 556-4376.

Math and Science Tutoring Available On-Line

Stumped by math or science homework? An Indiana university that has been providing assistance to local students will soon be bringing its homework hot line on-line.

The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, based in Terre Haute, has offered a homework hot line to local 6th through 12th grade students since 1991.

But this month, any student with a homework question will be able to reach the tutors from the university's Web site. Administrators hope that by March 17, the link will be up from the university's home page: http://www.rose-hulman.edu.

Susan Smith, the director of the learning center, said that the service is limited to math and science questions, where students tend to need more help.

--ANN BRADLEY, MILLICENT LAWTON, & JEANNE PONESSA inclass@epe.org

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