Educators Plan TV Campaign To Promote Teaching as Profession

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The head of a leading private-school group is spearheading a drive aimed at creating a nationwide public-service advertising campaign to promote teaching as a profession.

John Esty, president of the National Association of Independent Schools, said he will submit this spring a formal proposal for aid to the Advertising Council, a nonprofit group that produces public-service advertising designed to draw attention to national problems.

Citing the anticipated teacher shortage as the project's impetus, the association president said his efforts to gain support for the campaign within the education community began two years ago.

The Educational Leaders Consortium, a group comprising the executive directors of 18 public- and private-education associations, has agreed to co-sponsor the project, he said. And other groups and leaders in the field have offered support, including the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy's task force on teaching.

In addition to securing aid from the Advertising Council, said Mr. Esty, the project's "big challenge" ahead is the recruiting and organizing of a ''national advisory commit- I tee" to serve as co-sponsor with the E.L.C. and help raise money.

A. Richard Belding, a former business manager for the N.A.I.S., was hired last month as project director with a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Free Nationwide Publicity

The Advertising Council provides free creative assistance from advertising agencies to selected organizations and governmental agencies.

Its ads--including the long-running "Smokey the Bear" fire-prevention messages, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, and spots for the United Negro College Fund featuring the now-familiar slogan, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste"--appear without charge in about 22,000 media outlets nationwide.

But sponsoring organizations must bear the cost of film and other production materials, as well as expenses for any follow-up activities. Such costs can range upward from $150,000 a year, depending on the campaign, according to Elenore E. Hangley, the council's senior vice president. Sponsors must demonstrate that the money can be raised before the council will accept their proposals, she said.

The council accepts only about five of the 400 proposals submitted to it each year. Ms. Hangley described the selection process as "rigorous."

To Cite Teacher Shortage

Mr. Esty expressed confidence that the necessary funds could be raised once the project's advisory committee is formed.

In his prospectus for the campaign, he cites U.S. Education Department projections showing a need for 1.5 million new elementary- and secondary-school teachers by 1993, and department estimates that, if present trends continue, only 63 percent of that need will be met.

"The fact is," the prospectus states, "that a drastically reduced number of young people are interested in becoming teachers and there is not much reason presently for that situation to change."

The proposed advertising campaign, Mr. Esty said, would be "directed at young people for the purpose of raising their awareness of the teaching profession and rekindling their interest in its challenges and opportunities."

Vol. 05, Issue 20, Page 8

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