Teachers Column

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Last fall, faculty members at Syracuse University's School of Education had the idea of starting a campaign to raise scholarship money for their own school. The purpose was to attract more "top notch" candidates into the field of education, especially those who might be deterred by the school's high tuition, says Arthur Blumberg, a professor of educational administration who heads the drive.

First, the teachers canvassed themselves. "We wrote a letter with a salary scale saying, for example, if you're making over $50,000, you ought to be able to contribute $3,000 over three years," says Mr. Blumberg. At least 75 of the 95 staff members have responded with pledges that now total $55,000, he says.

More surprising is the response of alumni, says Mr. Blumberg; at least $60,000 in pledges has come in from them. The fundraisers themselves can hardly believe their success. "This is unheard of," says one.

For the first time, Wisconsin will hold a "Recruitment Fair" for districts seeking teachers and for teachers seeking jobs. The event is sponsored by the state's Association of School Personnel Administrators.

Scheduled for June 13-15 in Madison, the fair will be open to school-district administrators from all over the country, said Thomas Kelley, the coordinator. So far, 23 districts--mainly in Wisconsin and Illinois--plan to send representatives, he said.

Experienced teachers who have been laid off are also being urged to attend, as well as at least 500 graduates of local education schools.

The recruitment-fair concept has been used successfully in Boston and Minneapolis and saves traveling costs for all groups. While those events have served mainly urban districts, the Wisconsin fair will be oriented toward middle-sized, suburban schools, Mr. Kelley said.

Teaching aids, such as movies and videotapes, are successfully combating sex discrimination in the classroom, according to evaluators of a project designed to address the problem.

Most teachers in pilot schools chosen to test the new materials are receptive and willing to try changing their behavior, says Bernadine Stake of the University of Illinois, who is a project evaluator in the Broward County Schools in Florida.

Ms. Stake says teachers unconsciously fall into discriminatory patterns; they tend to ask girls for facts and to ask boys about meanings, and they often use biased language such as male pronouns and examples. "They have no idea they are discriminating until they see themselves on videotape," Ms. Stake adds.

Elementary-school teachers are receptive to sex-equity concerns, but middle- and senior-high-school teachers "are a bit more reluctant" to accept changes in their teaching habits, Ms. Stake said.

The four-year project, called the National Sex Equity Demonstration Project, began in 1979 and will end in October. Participating districts are in Florida, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Carolina, and Arizona.--ha

Vol. 02, Issue 37

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