Teacher Shortage, Certification Explored in Sunday Program

The nation's, state's and city's teacher shortage, changes in teacher certification and eforts to encourage greater interest in the teaching profession will be the focus of a special "Issues 8" broadcast on KGNS-TV Sunday morning, May 20, at 9 a.m.

A panel of guests form A&M International's College of Education will include Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Linda Medearis, Chair, Dept. Of Special Populations and Ms. Terry Hein, Director of the Unviersity's compnenet of the Regent's Initiative, a Texas A&M University System initiative.

Audra Schroeder of Pro-8 News will host the weekly public affirs broadcast.

Dr. Vida siad there is widespread concern about the impact of teacher shortages.

"Many believe this is a problem that is coming, but this year, rural districts were unable to hire 19 percent of the anticipated number of teachers needed. Elementary bilingual/English as a Second Language and apecial education positions were the most difficlut to fill, with statewide results showing 21 precent of the 3,522 positions not being hired. Secondary math and foreign language positions were also hard ot fill. Statewide results showed that 17 percent of the 3.434 math teaching positions and 13 percent of the 1,022 foreign language positions were not filled," Dr. Vida explained.

A&M International's College of Education has historically provided as much as 80 percent of local school district teaching professionals and is increasing its efforts to attract others to the field," she noted.

"There are some exciting changes in the way that we certify individuals already holding degrees to become teachers in a much more timely manner which we believe will encourage these individuals to consider certification. We're also looking to the younger generation by providing them with earlier exposrue to the profession to encourage their consideration of teaching as a career. We are a partner in The Texas A&M University System's Regents Initiative which aims to increase the production of public school teachers - especially in high-need fields - over the next five years."

"Most recently, we hosted a Future Teachers Conference at the University which attracted over 260 local and area high school teachers who've expressed an interest in enterng the profession. This summer we are also piloting a Future Teachers Summer Camp," she said.

"Teaching is a highly rewarding profession which daily changes minds and hearts. We believe that those who become teachers become change agents in the lives of hundreds of students. We take great pride in our programs and our role n helping to identify, train, graduate and mentor new teachers," Vida concluded.

For additional information on teacher recruitment, please contact Cynthia Ramirez in the College of Education offices in Killam Library 321A, phone 326-2681 or email cramirez@tamiu.edu.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu