One of the carrots meant to lure college graduates, and career changers, into math and science teaching is loan forgiveness, a form of assistance offered by states, nonprofits, and the federal government. Whether these programs actually have an impact on creating a sustained pool of talented teachers is a matter of dispute. But it’s probably a safe bet that for some aspiring teachers, particularly those thinking of forgoing higher-paying gigs for the classroom, the promise of paying off their college debts—especially if the debts rise as high as $50,000 or $70,000—means something.
A story in yesterday’s New York Times talks about the impact of the nation’s economic slide on these programs, focusing largely on what’s occurring at the state level.
When I wrote about loan-forgiveness programs a few years ago, 31 states had some sort of program aimed at providing scholarships or aid to teachers and aspiring teachers. One of the main hurdles for educators on the hunt for money is fairly basic, as I learned: They don’t know where to look for aid. They’re often unaware of the state and federal money available to them.
If you’re teaching in a math or science classroom, what impact do you think the loss of loan-forgiveness programs is likely to have on whether new recruits enter the field?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.