Rural Teachers Are Surveyed on Certification Standards

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Rural teachers want high certification standards, but they also want flexibility in applying them, according to a new survey.

The National Rural Development Institute, which paid for the study in part with money from the U.S. Education Department, surveyed a randomly selected sample of rural teachers, state education-department officials, and teacher-educators last fall. About 250 responses had been received by February.

Because teachers in rural areas often must be licensed to teach several subjects, "certification is often the toughest problem facing rural teachers and the school districts trying to hire them,'' said Doris Helge, director of the institute.

Most of the educators surveyed said that, despite the need for multiple certification, they did not want rural teachers to have less-stringent standards than non-rural teachers.

About 57 percent said a national certification program for rural teachers should be established, and 76 percent agreed that common state standards for certification should be formulated, regardless of whether a national program is developed.

However, nearly 67 percent said they believed there should be flexibility in applying standards, including the waiver of some requirements.

A summary of the National Rural Teacher Certification Study may be obtained from the National Rural Development Institute, Western Washington University, Miller Hall 359, Bellingham, Wash. 98225.--K.G.

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